- REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo
LONDON – EU citizens living in the UK will be forced to apply for a new residence document proving their right to remain here after Brexit.
Any European citizen remaining in the UK after the date Britain leaves the EU will be forced to apply for the document in order to achieve “settled status” allowing them to stay in the UK.
Opponents accused minister of plotting “ID cards by the backdoor.”
“The government announcement on EU citizens leaves so much in doubt. From the description it seems as if this is ID cards by the backdoor,” Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said. “David Davis resigned his seat and caused a by-election because he was disgusted by the assault on civil liberties by the then Labour government. What will he do this time round?
However, Brexit secretary David Davis on Monday denied claims from the opposition benches that the documents would amount to an ID card for EU citizens.
“It is not an ID card,” he said in the House of Commons.
“We are talking about documentation to prove that people have the right to a job and the right to residence, but they will not have to carry that around all the time. It is not an ID card; it is rather like your birth certificate. It’s not an ID card!”
The exact date the new rules will be enforced will be dependent on Brexit negotiations, however the government is planning a “grace period” of up to two years in order to deal with the millions of applications it is set to face from EU citizens already settled here.
Planned new post-Brexit residency rules
- Home Office
EU citizens already benefiting from “permanent residence status” in the UK under EU rules, will also have to reapply for the new residence document.
The Home Office said today the new document was necessary because of any future plans to further restrict the rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK.
“Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the Government may wish to introduce controls which limit the ability of EU citizens (and their families) who arrive in the UK after exit to live and work here,” the Home Office’s positions paper states.
“As such, without a residence document, current residents may find it difficult to access the labour market and services.”