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Post-Brexit: Introducing the EU Citizens Resident in the United Kingdom (Right To Stay) Bill

A debate has been held in Parliament, known as a Ten Minute Rule Bill, regarding the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals following Brexit and their legal position when the UK leaves the EU.

A Ten Minute Rule Bill is a way of debating a topical issue, where a backbench MP is allowed to make or argue his or her case for a new Bill. The House then decides whether the Bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful, the Bill is taken to have had its first reading and have started the passage to becoming law.

The EU referendum result is continuing to cause uncertainty and distress for EEA nationals currently living in Britain. This Bill seeks to restore certainty to EEA nationals and to grant EU citizens the right to stay resident in the UK following the UK’s withdrawal from membership of the EU. It attempts to set out minimum standards of the treatment of persons with rights deriving from the UK’s membership of the EU. The following points were discussed:

  • The rights of EU citizens should be secured by unconditionally granting the right to stay to all EU citizens who were resident in the UK on 23 June 2016
  • This Bill proposes that the best method of achieving this would be for the Government to legislate now to secure the rights of EU citizens unilaterally
  • Minimum guarantees need to be given now to protect individuals, businesses and universities
  • Further rights being given to EU citizens in the future should not be prevented
  • These should operate as ‘standstill’ provisions and that individuals should thus retain accrued rights and, if en route to settlement, be able to continue on that route
  • Consideration of a special post-EU status, set out in a separate set of rules, independent from current leave under the immigration rules
  • Argument regarding the cut off date for persons to retain rights accrued before that date. Should it be the actual date of leaving the UK, or, as opposition parliamentarians and some NGOs argue, should it be 23 June 2016?

The Bill has progressed to the next parliamentary stage and is expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 21 October 2016. We will provide a further update after the second reading.

In the meantime, EEA nationals can consider applying for permanent residence if they have lived in the UK for the requisite period (usually five years). EEA nationals must now obtain a permanent residence card before they can apply for UK citizenship applications.

We can help on how to apply for permanent residency and citizenship so do get in touch if you need any advice:

Ben Dos Santos
T. 020 7227 6743


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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