The Prime Minister has decided not to heed the call from the European Commission to allow EU citizens living in the United Kingdom the right to be joined by family members after Brexit, as part of a deal on citizens' rights for the estimated 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK.
Those who were here for less than five years will be able to carry on living in the United Kingdom and then apply for settled status after they pass the time limit.
The EU citizens who have held five years of continual residence in the U.K.at a cut off point, which is still to be determined, will be treated as they are United Kingdom citizens in terms of healthcare, education, benefits and pensions, according to government plans set out in a document published Monday.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks behind flags of Europe as she arrives on the second day of a summit of European Union (EU) leaders and focusing on globalisation and migration, after the first day was dominated by the future of the EU and the Brexit, on June 23, 2017 in Brussels.
But opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused of her of proposing "too little, too late", adding: "This is confirmation the government is prepared to use people as bargaining chips".
It said those who had lived in Britain for five years by an as yet unspecified cut-off point could stay for life - a right foreigners already have in the rest of the European Union, while those more recently arrived would be allowed to stay until they reach the threshold for "settled status".
Those who have been in the country for less than five years will be allowed to remain and then apply once they have accumulated the necessary five years.
The date for European Union citizens to enter the U.K.to gain the right to remain has yet to be finalized but will be no earlier than March 2017, when the United Kingdom announced its formal intention to leave the bloc, and no later than the date that Brexit becomes law, Mrs.
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Europeans arriving after the date will have a grace period - likely two years - to seek a temporary permit to stay in Britain, but will also be able to work towards "settled status".
British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement on the.
"Under these plans, no EU citizen now in the United Kingdom lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the United Kingdom leaves the EU", Mrs May told MPs in a Commons statement.
Irish nationals will not need to apply as their status will be protected by the Common Travel Area of agreement.
"I believe it is a generous offer".
May had previously refused to guarantee the rights of Europeans until the futures of one million British expatriates living in the rest of the EU were also secured. "The Court of Justice of the European Union will not have jurisdiction in the United Kingdom".
But spouses moving after Brexit will be subject to the same rules that now apply to non-EU nationals joining British citizens, which require the British citizen to meet a minimum income allowance. On Monday, May reiterated her stance that citizens' rights in the United Kingdom should be overseen by British courts.