19 October 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has posted an open message to the three million-plus EU expats in Britain, saying London and Brussels are “in touching distance” of an agreement to secure their futures.
The message, posted on Facebook and mailed to 100,000 EU nationals living in the UK, Mrs May promised to introduce a simple system to enable them to remain in the UK with a “streamlined” digital process for registering their right to stay.
Mrs May, who arrived in Brussels for a EU summit on Thursday, reiterated her message that “EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay”. She also announced that representatives of EU nationals will be invited to sit on a new group that will meet regularly to discuss problems with the process of applying for a ‘settled status’ to remain in the UK.
She said the cost of registration would be kept “as low as possible” and that it would be simple to swap permanent residence rights for settled status.
Until now, the government has refused to give nationals from other EU countries unconditional rights to remain in the UK pending the million-plus Britons living on the continent being offered similar rights.
In her message, Mrs May said, “We are in touching distance of agreement. I know both sides will consider each other’s proposals for finalising the agreement with an open mind.