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Theresa May attacked over moves to limit European Union citizens' rights after Brexit

28 June 2017

Over a year after the referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union, Theresa May has sought to clarify plans regarding the future of EU citizens living in the UK.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, responded to Theresa May's offer to EU citizens living in the calling for "more ambition, clarity and guarantees".

Any EU citizens who have less than five years of residency before the cut off date will also be able to remain in the country until they have five years' residence and then can apply for settled status, according to the offer.

He said the European Union remained to securing the same level of protection for its citizens as they now enjoyed under European Union law. "More ambition, clarity and guarantees needed than in today's United Kingdom position", he tweeted. "The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will not have jurisdiction in the United Kingdom", the UK paper says.

It is unclear whether the "settled status" would result in an identity card or simply be an entry in a Home Office database.

May proposes that those with at least five years residency before a cut-off date will be eligible for "settled status", granting them indefinite leave to remain with unrestricted access to healthcare, education, welfare and pensions.

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Who's eligible? European Union nationals who have lived in the United Kingdom for under five years will be allowed to remain until they have reached the five-year point. "We want you to stay".

The opposition leader accused May of using citizens as "bargaining chips".

A two-year "grace period" after Brexit will allow those with less than five years' residence to secure settled status.

The Prime Minister told a European Council summit in Brussels that she wanted to offer "certainty" to the estimated three million EU expats in the United Kingdom and ensure that families are not split up by Brexit. The plans, which will form part of the negotiations with the EU, were sold as offering Europeans living here rights which are "almost equivalent to British citizens".

Will Irish citizens be exempt from this five-year residency requirement, and continue to be afforded equal treatment with United Kingdom nationals?

'For if we get the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union right and reach a deal that protects jobs, business, and prosperity across the continent of Europe by maintaining trade flows, and avoiding risky cliff edges, then we can maximise the size of the cake and each enjoy a bigger piece'.

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I do not expect or want them to roll over and surrender to Mr Juncker and his colleagues every time that they do not agree with our proposals.

However, several key areas such as healthcare, professional qualifications and the rights of the self-employed fall in the negotiating category of "seek to ensure continuity" rather than a United Kingdom unilateral guarantee.

I hope this offer demonstrates the fair way we intend to conduct these negotiations, and the deep and special partnership we now want with the EU.

Newspapers from Madrid, Spain, to Riga, Latvia, carried opinion pieces yesterday by UK Brexit Secretary David Davis, tailored for specific readerships. The government say exceptions may be made if they "have strong ties here" however the details of this have not yet been spelled out.

If their application is accepted, foreign-born residents will be able to stay and live in the United Kingdom for an indefinite period - enjoying the same rights, services and privileges as British citizens.

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Theresa May attacked over moves to limit European Union citizens' rights after Brexit