EU citizens without British nationality who currently reside in the UK will have a new opportunity to seek a long-term residence permit if they have a valid reason for having missed the initial deadline, British Ministry of Interior announced on Friday.
So in effect, there will not be an automatic expulsion, MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who chairs the European Parliament Steering Group on Brexit, was pleased to confirm. The former Belgian Prime Minister was in London on Friday, where he met with the Minister in charge of Brexit Stephen Barclay.
The ‘divorce’ agreement between United Kingdom and the European Union provides guarantees for the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK and the million British citizens living on the continent.
The British Government has provided for a specific status that confers a right to permanent residence.
More than 2.7 million claims have already been introduced, and more than 2.5 million applicants have already received their residence status. The deadline for submitting an application is 30 June 2021.
Last October, British Minister Brandon Lewis created confusion by saying that those who missed the deadline could theoretically be expelled, even though their status should entitle the right to permanent residence.
With Brexit scheduled on 31 January, a transitional phase now begins during which both parties will have to negotiate their future relationship.
As for Verhofstadt, it will be the moment for him to pass the baton to the new Head of the Brexit Steering Group, German Conservative David McAllister.
Verhofstadt has been called by the European Parliament to lead the next Conference on the ‘future of Europe’.