Blow for Theresa May as EU parliament rejects climbdown offer on post-Brexit migrants
The European Parliament has rejected the offer by Theresa May to grant permanent residency to EU migrants who arrive in the UK after Brexit - despite it amounting to a major climbdown.
Chief Brexit negotiator for the body Guy Verhofstadt said the new proposal still amounted to “discrimination” and could not be accepted.
Home Office officials yesterday issued a policy paper saying it would allow those who arrive on UK shores during the Brexit transition period to apply for so-called ‘settled status’ after five years.
The move is a U-turn for the Prime Minister - who vowed to fight the demand from the EU - but it came with certain caveats.
Those who come during the expected two year period will have to meet an earnings threshold if they want to bring a partner over from the EU once the transition expires, for example.
But Mr Verhofstadt said all existing EU rules must apply during the transition “including for citizens, and no differentiation can take place”.
He said in a statement: “We have taken note of the UK government policy statement and the clarification it provides for EU citizens who will go to the UK during the Brexit transition period and will in principle have the right to settle permanently in the UK.
“However, we cannot accept that there will be any form of discrimination between EU citizens who arrive before the start of the transition and after.”
The Home Office statement sets out that EU citizens and their family members “will be able to move to the UK during the implementation period on the same basis as they do today”.
Those who arrive after March 2019 and stay longer than three months will have to sign up to a migration register, after which they will effectively have the same “settled status” as those who came to the UK before Brexit day.
If they choose to stay in the UK for five years they will be entitled to indefinite leave to remain.
But in another difference to the rules for EU nationals who arrive before Brexit day, the rights of transition arrivals will be guaranteed by British courts, rather than the European Court of Justice.