Brexit: protecting the rights of EU citizens living in the UK

Parliament is fighting to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of British citizens in the EU after Brexit.

Office workers going home after working day in Canary Wharf, London, UK.
The rights of EU citizens in the UK and Brits living in the EU will be protected

Although few of them were allowed to vote during the referendum, the millions of EU citizens living in the UK will be among those affected the most by Brexit. Their rights are covered by the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the UK and the EU, whichthe European Parliament voted in favour of on 29 January.

On 15 January, MEPs adopted a resolution saying assurances are needed on the protection of citizens’ rights to ensure Parliament's support for the withdrawal agreement. Following the adoption of the resolution, Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt obtained clarifications from Brexit secretary Steve Barclay during a meeting in London.

UK authorities are now exploring the possibility for EU citizens with settled status to be able to print a form asserting their status, as requested by the Parliament. Verhofstadt was also told that there would be no automatic deportation of EU citizens that have not applied yet. They will have the possibility to have their case heard and obtain settled status.

However, while the withdrawal agreement gives both Brits and EU citizens the right to continue working and living in the country in which they now live, other issues remain to be decided.

The next step is for the EU and the UK to negotiate an agreement on future relations, covering anything from trade to collaboration on issues such as the environment and terrorism. It will also cover health coverage for EU citizens living in the UK and Brits living in the EU.

From the start Parliament has been keen to protect the rights of citizens. In the Parliament position adopted in April 2017, MEPs stressed the importance of securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. The adopted position providing guidelines for the negotiations between the EU and the UK.

Parliament plays a key role in deciding the outcome of these talks. Read more about its role here. Since then there have been several resolutions adopted and statements by Parliament’s Brexit steering group reiterating the importance of protecting their rights.

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