Theresa May has made attempts to calm the nerves of EEA nationals living in the UK by vowing to make it as easy as possible for them and their family members to remain in the UK following Brexit.
In previous months, the Prime Minister said that all EEA nationals in the UK, whether they hold Permanent Residence or not, will have to apply for ‘Settled Status’ to remain. However, on a Facebook post, Mrs May has expanded on this saying that this application would be ‘streamlined’ and cost ‘as low as possible’, and that those with Permanent Residence can ‘swap this’ for settled status.
However, in an upcoming summit consisting of the other 27 EU states, it is expected that they will agree that insufficient progress has been made on the first topics (rights of EEA nationals living in the UK/UK nationals living in the EEA; the settlement of the UK’s financial obligations and ensuring the Northern Irish peace progress is not compromised), meaning they cannot yet move onto the second phase; trade discussions.
Mrs May has attempted to re-assure EEA nationals that those lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay. This suggests that EEA nationals who have moved to the UK since Article 50 was activated would also have the continuing right to reside in the UK following Brexit. However, until the government’s position is set in stone, it is unlikely to calm the nerves of many EEA citizens living in the UK.