Many European Countries have united to shore up the rights of British workers in the light of “no deal” Brexit as the deadline looms closer. This is followed by an appeal by EU to member states to consider taking a more considered approach in this scenario.
While the British government has assured rights of European nationals living in UK, there are many details which are still in the air and many situations which are described as unacceptable by either of the parties. In such a situation, the recent withdrawal agreement has created further uncertainties in millions of people.Can a separate deal guarantee the rights of UK and EU citizens post-Brexit?
The situation for European nationals in UK if Brexit occurs without a pre-approved exit deal creates great uncertainty.What ‘no deal actually ‘ means for over 3 million European citizens in the UK
The policy paper by the British government concerning the rights of citizens serves to help remove any ambiguity. Citizens of Europe along with their family members living in the UK would be welcome to live, work, study as well as access all benefits and services on the same basis as they do now in case of a no deal Brexit.
The planned Settlement Scheme for European national by UK will continue as under the Withdrawal Agreement which includes a five year period to leave and return to the country.
The cut off date to apply for residency is also extended by six months, considering the fact they are residents by the end of March 2019. It is also important that European citizens also apply for settled status by the end of 2020. They can also be joined by existing close family members, however the cut-off date for this is March 29th, 2022.
As of now, the entitlements ranging from benefits to services will also continue to remain the same, whilst these may vary in other countries.
The new Contingency Action Plan by European Commission seeks to focus on putting its citizens first. It claims the European Countries to be generous when it comes to granting permanent residency to citizens living in UK on exit day. It also allows UK residents to be exempt from visa requirements. The barebones proposal has been slammed and that only implies that UK nationals will have to adjust their life as a third country national overnight when all their currently available European rights have been snatched away from them. It is also being said that rights mentioned in withdrawal agreement will no longer be relevant and will depend only on goodwill and individual laws of the host country. Another major effect will be the one posed on healthcare of pensioners as the social security arrangements can be coordinated only at the European level. The end of free movement only threatens the livelihood of people who work in two or more countries.Britons returning to live in the UK from the EU
In line with the policy paper of the UK government, British nationals who are returning to the UK in no deal scenario will enjoy the same access to healthcare and other facilities as Britons who are already living in the UK. They will also enjoy similar rights to vote. This however, offers no guarantee over the rights to bring European and non-European citizens or family member. The issue as of now is a major cause of concern.Business and leisure travel
The UK and Europe have agreed that their citizens will be allowed to travel without a visa in each other’s region for business or leisure tourism. The visits however will be limited to only 90 days and twice in a year.UK passport validity
Some passport holders of UK willing to travel to Europe after the no-deal Brexit will have to apply for renewing their passport by the end of this month. As per the UK law, up to 9 months of validity on passports can be carried forward to new one and hence will allow the new passports to be valid for a maximum of 10 years and 9 months. Besides that, the rule for travellers still remains the same and they need to have at least six months’ validity on their passport at the time of travel.Losing control
Irrespective of claimed good intentions, a no deal Brexit would mean that worker’s rights will no longer be protected at European level and rather be dealt by individual laws of the nation. It is a time of great uncertainty.