Theresa May breaks silence on the status of EU citizens following Brexit

EU citizens have been waiting anxiously since the UK voted to leave the EU over a year ago to find out how Brexit will impact them. Yesterday Theresa May made a long-awaited announcement: “EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay.”

Key themes

That leaves open many questions such as the definition of lawful, and what is the status of those away on long or short overseas trips on a course or work secondment who have lived here all their lives.

The Prime Minister’s open letter states that discussions on citizens’ rights should be concluded in the coming weeks. It also suggests what the process for EU citizens applying for settled status in the UK may look like. Mrs May wrote that it will be streamlined and low cost – no more than the cost of a UK passport. A standard UK adult passport costs £72.50.

There is some doubt as to the lawfulness of requiring those who have permanent residence already to apply for settled status, which is identical to permanent residence.

This announcement comes as the 27 remaining EU states are expected to officially conclude that insufficient progress has been made in Brexit talks. Debates in the House of Commons on the EU Withdrawal Bill also look set to be further delayed.

We are aware that some clients have received the open letter by email as their information is stored on a Home Office database.

To read the open letter in full, please click here.

The immigration team at BWB has extensive experience in advising EU nationals on their status in the UK, particularly following the vote to leave the EU.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Philip Trott, a Partner and Head of the Immigration Department.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of October 20, 2017.