Risk of Post-Brexit Limbo for EU Citizens, But MPs Could Just Save the Day

CC0 / / Brexit
Brexit - Sputnik International
The future of EU citizens living in the UK largely depends on the Home Office and its decision to repeal free movement law in the UK by amending primary and secondary legislation.

This scenario could play out whether the UK leaves the European Union with or without a deal in place.

The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has issued a report, warning that government actions could leave Europeans residing in Britain would lose their right to freedom of movement, housing and social security rights due to the stipulations of the Immigration Bill.

If passed the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 would bring EU citizens living in the UK under domestic immigration law. The post-Brexit immigration system will be implemented in the Immigration Rules, made by the Secretary of State for the Home Office under the power of section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971

The Bill is now due to have its report stage and third reading on a date to be announced. Amendments can be made to the Bill at Report Stage and to be considered are selected by the Speaker.

JCHR said that "ensuring citizen's rights is therefore contingent on Ministers taking action" and proposing amendments to the Immigration Bill to avoid leaving EU citizens in the UK in a state of limbo.

"When it comes to rights, promising that everything will be worked out in the future is not good enough, it must be a guarantee, which is why the Committee have reinserted rights guarantees back into the wording of the Bill," Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee said.

The Liberal Democratic Party called the uncertainty around EU citizens' rights in the UK "an absolute shambles." However, overall it is up to the Members of the Parliament, including the Lib Dem MPs, to propose EU-citizen-friendly amendments to the Immigration Bill and fight for their inclusion in the legislation. 

Two activists with the EU flag and Union Jack painted on their faces kiss each other in front of Brandenburg Gate to protest against the British exit from the European Union, in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2016. - Sputnik International
EU Citizens Need to Feel 'Pressure' to Register for Settled Status - Sajid Javid

The EU citizens residing in the UK were offered by the government to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their status post Brexit.

The scheme is open for application, and the deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021. In case of no-deal scenario, EU citizens will need to be living in the UK by 29 March 2019 to apply. The deadline for applying will be 31 December 2020.

The Home Office announced end of January that in the event of no deal, EU citizens will be able to enter the UK to visit, work or study after 29 March 2019. For stays longer than 3 months, European Temporary Leave to Remain will be required.

READ MORE: Gov't Will Seek to End Free Movement in No-Deal Brexit Scenario — UK Home Office

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