23 June 2017

EU citizens offer: both sides must make clear that deal will stand regardless of Brexit negotiations

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It’s welcome that Prime Minister Theresa May has made an offer to her EU counterparts on the status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, writes Sunder Katwala.

Offering status and certainty for EU citizens in the UK and Brits in the EU is the right thing to do, both practically and morally. Politicians, business and EU citizens themselves have been calling for this for a full year – that’s too long, but it’s welcome that we have finally made progress.

Certainty must mean certainty. Both sides must now make clear that this deal on citizens’ rights will stand, whether the Brexit negotiations succeed or fail on other issues. Making them wait another 18 months would be toying with the futures of 4 million people.

People will now rightly want to see the detail of how this will work. We will need a new, fit-for-purpose system that resolves people’s status quickly, rigorously and fairly without overburdening the Home Office.

British Future co-ordinated the cross-party, Leave/Remain EU citizens Inquiry into how to resolve the status of the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK. Most of the Inquiry’s recommendations were adopted in the unanimous report from the Exiting the EU Committeee of the House of Commons published in March.

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