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.
However, when we asked him what would happen if there was ultimately no deal between the EU and the UK, he told us “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.
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.
Our rights should be future-proofed by an international treaty
From the moment Article 50 was triggered, we have argued that citizens’ rights should be decoupled from the negotiations, and guaranteed in all events. It has been completely wrong to shackle the rights of 5 million citizens to the runaway ‘deal or no deal’ roller coaster that has taken over UK politics.
Our rights should be granted automatically
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 automatically, to avoid a ‘Windrush on steroids’.
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.
We must keep our voting rights
At the moment, EU citizens in the UK can vote and stand as candidates in local and mayoral elections. We do not know whether we will keep this right after Brexit - the UK government has given us no guarantees. Many EU citizens may end up disenfranchised - based on a referendum about our future that excluded us from a vote.