The UK government has published its long-awaited withdrawal agreement and supporting papers for leaving the EU. The draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement agreed by the Cabinet sets out the terms of the UK’s “divorce” from the EU, over 585 pages. In addition, the EU and the UK published a joint political declaration on their future relationship, which sets out broad areas of future co-operation.
A large section of the draft agreement (part ) is dedicated to the rights of EU citizens to live in the UK, and UK citizens to live in the EU. The UK will “take back control” of migration from the EU, but it will happen slowly.
The headline is that EU citizens and their families will continue to have the right to move to live and work in the UK (and vice versa) until the end of the transition period in December 2020.Those who take up residence before the end of the transition period will be allowed to remain beyond transition and, if they stay for five years, will be allowed to remain permanently.
However, once the transition period is over, the draft agreement does allow the UK to require EU citizens who stay on to apply for a new residence document. The agreement says application forms for this residence status “shall be short, simple, user-friendly”. All this applies to UK citizens in EU countries too.
The draft agreement says that a country may ask people to “voluntarily” start applying for this residence status before the transition period ends. Looking to the future, beyond the end of the transition period, the 14-page Outline Political Declaration document says that the UK and the EU will aim to achieve: arrangements for temporary entry for “business purposes”; visa-free travel for short-term visits; co-operation on tackling illegal immigration.