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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

EU citizens' rights: Theresa May's 'fair and serious' offer that wasn't

Theresa May's proposals on EU citizens' rights do not go much further than a simple restatement of existing immigration rules, which already give EU citizens the right to permanent residence if they have been exercising treaty rights for five years. May offers to provide protection to those who least need it – those who already qualify on the basis of the ‘five-year’ criterion, and have the documentation to prove it – while failing to provide any reassurance to those who need it the most; those, in particular, with fewer than five years in the UK, those who may have been here for long and fulfill the permanent residence requirement but cannot trace the documentation to prove it, those who have previously acquired – but subsequently lost – their permanent residence status, due to being away from the country for more than two years and, ultimately, those who may have been in the country for long but were not in a position to establish permanent residence rights in the first place (perhaps because they have not been working, or did not have comprehensive sickness insurance). Put simply, by relying exclusively on UK immigration law, Theresa May’s proposals entirely fail to address the exigent circumstances created by Brexit.

Full analysis by Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos here (published in King's College's 'UK in a Changing Europe' platform).

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