British Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union are at odds over the rights of Europeans coming to the UK after Brexit.
The EU has warned they expect EU nationals moving to Britain after leaving the EU in Match 2019 to have the same rights as EU nationals already in the country during any transition period.
This could last from March 29, 2019 until December 31, 2020 under EU proposals.
But May says she is not prepared to renegotiate Britain’s current deal with the EU and expats already in the UK should expect different treatment from those that arrive after Brexit.
In response, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, said: “Citizens’ rights during the transition are not negotiable.
“For the transition to work there could not be two sets of rights for EU citizens.”
The British government says this was settled in negotiations last year and that the EU have changed the agreement.
The deal says that all EU nationals who have been in the UK for more than five years will be granted settled status, giving them indefinite leave to stay with the same access to public services as now.
Those resident for a shorter time who arrive before March 29, 2019, can stay and be granted settled status once they have been in the country for five years.
At the time, May said anyone arriving after Brexit could live, work and study in the UK during the transition period but that they would need to register with the Home Office and that immigration rules for them would have to be agreed later.
Freedom of movement
The EU expects existing rules on freedom of movement to apply until the end of the transition phase.
“When we agreed the citizens’ rights deal in December we did so on the basis that people who had come to the UK when we were a member of the EU had set up certain expectations,” said May.
“It was right that we have made an agreement that ensured they could continue their life in the way they had wanted to – now for those who come after March 2019 that will be different because they will be coming to a UK that they know will be outside the EU.
“I’m clear there is a difference between those people who came prior to us leaving and those who will come when they know the UK is no longer a member.”