- The UK government will hand all 3.8 million EU citizens living in the UK a unilateral right to remain in the country under a no-deal Brexit, according to a leaked briefing paper.
- The deal would mean that would be entitled to stay and continue to access healthcare, benefits, and pensions.
- The government is concerned that failing to make such an offer would cause labour shortages.
LONDON – Theresa May’s government will offer EU citizens living in the UK a unilateral right to stay in the country if there is no Brexit deal, according to Cabinet papers leaked to the Telegraph.
The leaked papers state that Britain will take a “moral high ground” by offering EU migrants the right to continue living in the UK and continue accessing the NHS and claiming benefits, the report said.
However, the paper also warned that the UK will rely heavily “on the availability of existing labour” should UK and Eu negotiators fail to strike a deal by March next year.
Details of the offer to EU citizens under a no deal Brexit will be set out in one of 84 technical papers about a no deal scenario, which are scheduled to be published from the end of this week.
The paper says that the rights of EU citizens are “one of the most important aspects” of no-deal planning, and warns that there will be “handling risks” if the government fails to honour the commitments it made on citizens rights last year as part of withdrawal discussions with Brussels.
Ministers have repeatedly highlighted the importance of maintaining staffing levels in crucial sectors such as health, social care, and construction under any Brexit outcome.
All 3.8 million EU migrants living in the UK would be entitled to stay and continue to access healthcare, benefits, and pensions. They would also be able to bring spouses and “close family members” with them to the UK.
According to the Telegraph, it states: “The Home Office plans to make an offer to existing EU residents that they can remain in the UK in a ‘no deal’ scenario, in effect unilaterally implementing the (immigration element of the) Citizens’ Rights agreement agreed with the EU in December 2017.
“The proposal is to make the offer irrespective of whether the EU reciprocates. Any package would need resolution for the reciprocal elements of the December 2017 deal.
“Making an offer is not only important to provide certainty publicly, but will enable the UK Government to take the moral high ground. A number of other plans are also dependent on the Government’s position on this issue, relying heavily on the availability of existing labour in a ‘no deal’ scenario.”
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