During the EU referendum campaign, Vote Leave promised that there will be no change for EU citizens, that they would automatically be granted status, and will be treated no less favourably than before.
On the 28th March 2017, Michel Barnier told us in person that citizens’ rights would be the highest priority during the negotiations. In May 2017, he said in a speech that EU citizens in the UK and our British friends living in the EU27 should be "able to continue to live as they are doing today, for the whole of their lives".
In a nutshell, everything we campaign and lobby for is to retain our existing rights after Brexit, no more, no less – as promised by all sides.
Rights must not be removed from those the government fails to reach in time
EU citizens have been told by the Government that they must apply for settled status or pre-settled status to be able to stay in the UK. We have been campaigning for over two years to have our legal status guaranteed in legislation, to avoid a ‘Windrush on steroids’ for those who do not apply in time for whatever reason.
We need a physical document to prove our rights
EU citizens don’t get any physical proof of their (pre-)settled status. Instead they have to rely on a digital status controlled by the Home Office. No-one would suggest that passports were digital-only, and neither should settled status be.
Residence-based voting rights
The Government recently announced that EU citizens with pre-settled and settled status will continue having the right to vote in local elections in England and Northern Ireland. EU citizens in Wales and Scotland will see no changes to their rights as all residents with leave to remain can vote in elections in these nations.
The recent announcement is a positive step, however, a UK-wide, residence-based voting rights approach to local elections would give everyone an equal say in how their communities are run.
Unfair obstacles to citizenship should be removed
EU citizens with settled status, applying for British citizenship, are at risk of having those applications refused if they did not hold an obscure health insurance during past periods when they were students or self-sufficient. As Prime Minister, Theresa May explicitly got rid of this unfair requirement, now it is back to haunt us.