EU citizens’ in UK with permanent residence won’t have to reapply
A little progress on citizens’ rights in Brussels. But there’s still more to do.
Another round of Brexit talks is done. And although it’s not yet clear how much of what Theresa May said in her speech in Florence has been fleshed out in talks, there has at least been one concession made on EU citizens in the UK.
In a joint press conference with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Brexit secretary David Davis said that EU citizens who have already got their permanent residency documents would not need to reapply for “settled status” post-Brexit.
… we know that those already holding Permanent Residency documents should not have to go through the full process.
David Davis, Brexit secretary
This is a change from the UK’s position paper on citizens’ rights published in June, which suggested they would need to. The government’s paper said: “For those who have already obtained a certificate of their permanent residence, we will seek to make sure that the application process for settled status is as streamlined as possible.” This certainly suggested that they would have to reapply. Given many EU citizens in the UK have already applied for permanent residency, which included completing the 85-page form and paying the £65 fee, the concession from Davis today will not doubt be welcome. Earlier this week, the Home Office also confirmed to the3million, a campaign group for EU citizens in the UK, confirmed that EU citizens in the UK applying for “settled status” would not be required to submit fingerprints or be issued with an ID. You can see more on this in our story below.
There also seems to have been a little progress made on the issue of the courts that would oversee citizens’ rights. In her speech, the prime minister pledged to give “direct effect” to the withdrawal agreement, enforced by UK courts. This means the UK government and parliament will not be able to change anything within it.
She also said that UK courts could take into account European Court of Justice rulings. Both of these proposals seem to have been put forward in negotiations, which the EU welcomed. At the press conference, Barnier said that for the citizens concerned, the two sides agreed: “the UK will apply EU law concepts in a manner that is consistent with EU law after Brexit.” However, he added that the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) role continued to be a “stumbling block”.
But we failed to agree that the European Court of Justice must play an indispensable role in ensuring there is consistency. This is a stumbling block for the EU.
Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator
Barnier also said alongside the issue of the ECJ, other big gaps between the two sides over citizens included family reunification and the issue of exporting social security benefits. He added the EU was also waiting to find out more from the UK about a new streamlined system for applying for permanent residency (“settled status”).
Here’s an updated joint technical note on progress over citizens’ rights after this round of negotiations.