POLITICS

EU Citizens: Theresa May Refusing To Give In To Brussels Demands On Family Rights

The Government has set out details of its EU citizens plan.

26/06/2017 14:53 | Updated 26 June 2017

Theresa May is refusing to back down over two key EU demands on citizens rights as she announced the full details of her post-Brexit offer.

Plans revealed today shows The European Court of Justice will have no role in policing any citizens rights deal, and it will be tougher for EU nationals to bring family members to the UK after-Brexit.

EU citizens will have two years after Brexit to apply for a new immigration status within the UK - potentially sparking administrative carnage as civil servants try to process more than 3.2million applications.

Those who can prove they have lived in the UK for at least five years will automatically qualify for the new “settled status” - giving them almost the same rights as they currently enjoy.

Citizens here fewer than five years before the cut off date will be able to apply for a “temporary status” before being granted “settled status” once they reach the time criteria.

Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, the Prime Minister said the proposal was a “serious offer.”

Home Office

While Brussels is likely to accept much on offer, the UK is refusing allow the European Court of Justice from ruling on any dispute involving EU citizens in the UK.

EU citizens will also no longer be automatically able to bring family members over to the UK after Brexit - regardless of how long the applicant has lived in Britain.

This change to the rules - hotly disputed by Brussels - will bring EU citizens rights in line with those of UK nationals, who have to meet strict eligibility criteria if they want to bring over a family member from a non-EU country.

Current arrangements on access to health services, welfare payments and pensions would remain as they are.

The proposals are based on the EU making an identical offer for UK citizens living on the continent.

If the plans are adopted, Whitehall will have to embark on a hiring spree in order to get enough civil servants to deal with the increase in workload.

According to the Institute for Government, the Home Office currently processes around 13,000 residency applications a month. Under the post-Brexit proposals, even if officials worked non-stop for two years solid, they would need to process around 4,400 applications every day.

A report from the think-tank released in May argued the Home Office would need to hire an additional 5,000 staff in order to cope with the volume of applications.

In April, 240 extra staff were recruited to deal with a backlog of around 100,000 residency applications from EU citizens earlier this year, with a surge sparked by the referendum result.

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