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Not much is clear about what a post-Brexit Britain will look like. Reports coming out this week have suggested that the negotiations could take up to 10 years, and even then there are no guarantees that Britain will get what they want out of the deals. The Government is now facing mounting pressure to secure the fate of those EU nationals living in the UK, as this would bring an end to the speculation.
A report from a non-partisan British think tank argues that EU nationals who have been settled in the UK for more than five years should be offered permanent residence. The report also pushed for those individuals to have continued rights to for a set period to bring family members to the UK to live with them and also claim benefits.
The alternative to would be force all EU nationals living in the UK to go through the same visa application process as non-EU nationals, but this process would take more than 100 years with the current system. Despite these numbers, Theresa May still hasn’t made any promises or guarantees for EU nationals living in the UK.
Pro-leave campaigner, and Labour MP Gisela Stuart led the report in an effort to “make clear at the start of the Brexit negotiations that EU citizens already here before that date can stay”. This wouldn’t only help to ease the pressure on the Home Office, and make pragmatic sense, but it would also help to secure reciprocal deals for the many UK citizens settled throughout Europe.
Although the hard line of Brexit is to put an end to the freedom of movement throughout the UK, the report makes clear that this shouldn’t impact the people already settled in the UK and throughout Europe. The report panel was made up of figures from the Labour Party, Ukip, the Conservative Party and The Trade Union Congress (TUC). The leader of EU affairs for the TUC, Owen Tudor said: “This shouldn’t be a matter for negotiation. The Prime Minister should make the first move to unblock this ghastly uncertainty. It is morally right and pragmatically sensible.”