The Prime Minister has updated EU citizens living in the UK on their rights following Brexit.

The email follows the release of the published Joint Report between the European Commission and the UK government on Friday 8 December 2017. 

Mrs May has confirmed that:

  • EU citizens will have their European Union rights written into UK law by way of the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill once all negotiations have concluded. The rights will be enforceable in UK courts and European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law will be highly regarded. In instances where existing ECJ case law is not clear, for the next 8 years, UK courts will have the option to choose to ask for interpretation of the case law from the ECJ prior to reaching their decision in the UK court. This is the first time that the Government has confirmed the ECJ’s ongoing role in the context of the immigration implications of Brexit.
  • At the date of Brexit (29 March 2019), EU citizens with five years’ continuous residence in the UK will be eligible for settled status. EU citizens with less than five years’ continuous residence at the date of Brexit will be allowed to stay until the five year threshold has been met. 
  • From the second half of next year, a "transparent, smooth and streamlined process" will be implemented allowing EU citizens to easily apply for settled status. This will cost "no more than applying for a passport". EU citizens currently holding permanent residence immigration status will be able to switch to settled status for free.
  • Citizens of Switzerland and other EEA Member States currently residing in the UK will also benefit from the arrangements.

The position of EU nationals arriving after 29 March 2019 was not covered. However, following the Government’s leaked document earlier this year, we expect them to be subject to a version of the current Points-Based System.