Theresa May’s deal for EU migrants would strip them of their ‘settled status’ if they leave the country for just two years, it was revealed today. The Prime Minister proudly announced her “fair offer” to EU citizens living in the UK on Thursday.The deal allows EU nationals who have lived in Britain for five years to apply for ‘settled status’.
On Sunday, Brexit Secretary David Davis said the deal “effectively” gave them the same rights as British citizens. But buried in the 22-page document outlining the plan, which was published today, is the revelation that ‘settled status’ can be revoked if migrants leave Britain for just two years. This brings it in line not with British citizenship, but with ‘indefinite leave to remain.’
People with ‘settled status’ will be allowed to apply for permanent British citizenship after a year, but this is not automatic. The 3.2 million EU migrants living in the UK would also be required to hold an ‘ID card’ to prove they can draw benefits and use the NHS. And those applying will have to provide “biometric information” like fingerprints as part of the process.
The major scheme was buried in a new 20-page document outlining details of Theresa May’s plan for EU citizens. The Prime Minister had already announced a new “settled status” for those who have been in Britain for five years, an offer EU leaders said didn’t go far enough. Now the government has said those staying will be forced to obtain “documentation showing their settled status” by law. The Home Office has not declared what form the documentation will take and has not ruled out ID cards.
A source said: “Further details on the scheme will be provided in due course.”