PM Sets Out Proposal For EU Citizens Post-Brexit

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The government has published a policy paper outlining the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit.

The 15-page paper sets out the government’s proposal that qualifying EU citizens would have to apply for residence status, granting them settled status under UK law.

To qualify, EU citizens must have been resident in the UK before a ‘specified date’ and have completed five years’ continuous residence in the UK before they apply.

The policy paper states the specified date will be no earlier than 29th March 2017 – the date the UK triggered Article 50 – and no later than the date of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The paper does not make it clear whether settled status would mean identity cards for settled EU nationals, or simply be an entry on a Home Office database.

Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement in which she said she wanted tocompletely reassure people that under these plans, no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU.”

Applications for settled status will be made online, described by Mrs May as a “light touch” system, using existing tax documents.

Dependants

Addressing the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said that EU nationals with settled status would have the same rights as British citizens if they wanted to bring their family members to the UK.

The policy paper confirms that family dependants joining a qualifying EU citizen in the UK before its withdrawal from the EU will be eligible to apply for settled status after five years, irrespective of the specified date.

However, the paper states that those joining after the UK’s exit will be subject to the same rules as those joining British citizens, or alternatively to the post-exit immigration arrangements for EU citizens who arrive after the specified date.

Under current rules, this would mean that EU nationals would not be permitted to bring a spouse to live with them post-Brexit unless the minimum income threshold of £18,600 was met.

But in her speech to MPs, the topic of the minimum income threshold went unmentioned by Mrs May.

Criticism

The proposals have drawn criticism for lack of clarity and detail.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said via Twitter that “more ambition, clarity and guarantees” were needed.

Negotiators for the EU had tabled a four-page proposal in which all rights of all EU citizens impacted by Brexit would be protected for life.

This would mean both UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK would have the same residency rights, rights to work or establish a business, and access to healthcare and pensions from any country in Europe.

However, several of these issues for UK nationals living in the EU have not been guaranteed.

British in Europe, the largest coalition group of Britons living and working in Europe, expressed fears that the 1.2 million UK citizens living in the EU were being ignored.

Jane Golding, chair of British in Europe, said of the policy paper: “There is very little here about what Theresa May actually wants to achieve for us and how our rights should be protected.”

Read the full policy paper and example case studies here.

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This overview is not exhaustive and does not substitute for actual advice based on specific circumstances. Different employer and individual circumstances will require bespoke advice.  Readers are reminded that immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment’s notice without any warning.

For detailed information, please get in touch with Dearson Winyard.

 

 

 

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General Election 2017: What Now?

The General Election on 9th June sprung up one or two surprises; not least the Conservatives failing to gain a majority as many predicted they would.

Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to secure the 326 parliamentary seats needed to control Westminster, the UK faced a hung parliament.

Here, we look at the fallout and address questions on many voters lips.blokes

What is a hung parliament?

In order to form a government in the UK, a political party has to do sufficiently well in a general election to win an ‘overall majority’ of seats in the House of Commons.

An overall majority is half the 650 MPs in the House of Commons plus one, i.e., 326.

A hung parliament describes a state of a parliament where no single political party has an absolute majority of seats.

So, what happens next?

The present Conservative government will remain in office until it is decided with which party it will attempt to form a new government.

Since the election results filtered in, Theresa May has approached the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who won ten seats, to form an alliance.

Indeed, a Downing Street statement said a “confidence and supply” agreement had been reached with the DUP and would be put to the cabinet.

However, the DUP contradicted that announcement, confirming the talks were ongoing, not finalised.

Theresa May will meet DUP leader Arlene Foster this week.

Who are the DUP?

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was formed in 1971 by Ian Paisley at the height of the Northern Ireland conflict. It is the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP traditionally has links to protestant churches. It is historically strongly linked to the Protestant Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, which Ian Paisley founded.

And what is their political standpoint?

Evolved from the Protestant Unionist Party, the DUP favours Ulster unionism, meaning that they oppose a united Ireland and are supporters of Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK.

The DUP was the only party in the Northern Ireland Assembly to back ‘Leave’ during the Brexit campaign, but will not accept any deal re-instating a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

Anything controversial?

Well, yes.

The DUP opposes same-sex marriage and has fought to prevent it becoming legal in Northern Ireland, despite it being legal in the other countries of the UK.

Additionally, the party has campaigned against the legalisation of homosexual acts in Northern Ireland.

The DUP has campaigned strongly against abortion rights in Northern Ireland; leader Arlene Foster last year vowed to prevent pregnancy terminations being made available in the country.

The party once appointed climate change denier Sammy Wilson as its environment minister. Mr Wilson said it was a “con” to suggest humans had changed weather patterns.

Several of the DUP’s senior members are creationists, that is, they hold the religious belief that the universe originated “from specific acts of divine creation,” rejecting the scientific conclusion that it happened via natural processes such as evolution.

Where does the DUP stand on immigration policy?

Little mention is made of immigration in the party’s 2017 Westminster manifesto.

As part of what the DUP describes as ‘Getting the Best Deal for Northern Ireland from the UK leaving the EU’, the manifesto lists a number of priorities and objectives the DUP would like to see as part of the Brexit negotiations.

‘Effective immigration policy which meets the skills, labour and security needs of the UK’ is listed as one of those priorities.

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