The policy paper published today, titled ‘EU citizens arriving in the UK during the implementation period’, details the options available to European Union migrants who arrive into the UK after Brexit.
New EU migrants arriving after March 2019 will be given a five-year temporary residence permit, more than double the length of the two-year one that was previously proposed by ministers.
Previously Theresa May had stood firm on immigration as she announced she would “battle the EU” over the longterm residency rights of those arriving after the March 29, 2019 Brexit date.
But according to the new policy paper EU migrants will be able to apply for UK residency and bring family members across even after Britain has left the bloc.
The move comes despite any guarantees from EU Member States that they will reciprocate the offer to UK citizens.
The paper issued by the Home Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “EU citizens and their family members will be able to move to the UK during the implementation period on the same basis as they do today, which will be given effect through the Withdrawal Agreement.
“This means that there will be no new constraints on working or studying in the UK in the implementation period.”
The Government added that it will offer “EU citizens and their family members who arrive, are resident and have registered, during the implementation period” several options to remain in the UK.
EU nationals who have accumulated five years of “continuous and lawful residence” will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), while those arriving during the expected two year transition will also have options to stay.
Meanwhile those who have not accumulated the five years needed for ILR will be able to stay in the UK on a “temporary status” – meaning EU nationals will be able to “remain lawfully in the UK working, studying or being self-sufficient for the five years needed to obtain settlement”.
EU citizens will also have an additional three month window after the transition period to submit applications for settlement “ensuring that there is no cliff-edge”.
The policy paper continued: “These rights will be enforceable in the UK legal system.
“They will apply equally to all EU citizens who arrive during the implementation period, and the UK will not treat citizens of one Member State differently to those of another.
“The application process for temporary status and indefinite leave to remain will be streamlined and user-friendly. It will be possible to apply at any point up to three months beyond the end of the implementation period.
“The arrangements that will apply to UK citizens who move to EU Member States during the implementation period will be for determination by Member States and we encourage Member States to mirror the UK’s offer in their own arrangements.”
The new comes after Theresa May condemned the European Commission’s draft text on Brexit saying “no UK prime minister could ever agree to it”.
Earlier today Brussels published a preliminary draft withdrawal treaty which puts last December’s political agreement on moving to the next stage of Brexit talks in to legal language.
But the PM was enraged by the proposals saying they would “threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK”.
In today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Mrs May said: “The draft legal text the Commission have published would, if implemented, undermine the UK common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no UK prime minster could ever agree to it.