EU Nationals Used as Pawns in Brexit Talks?
The government has refused to guarantee that foreign EU nationals already in the UK will be allowed to remain once Britain leaves the EU, a decision condemned by Labour as causing “chaos” to huge numbers of families.
Unless reciprocal rights are given to the 1.2 million UK citizens residing on other EU member states, the Government said the status of EU nationals who are currently exercising EU treaty rights in Britain are in jeopardy.
Labour MP Gisela Stuart condemned the government’s comments, saying it was “deeply, deeply offensive” to deny millions of people the right to plan their lives for the next couple of years. “People are not bargaining chips,” she said.
Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, stated that non-British EU nationals in the country, who had arrived in the expectation they could stay permanently, were having the “rug pulled from under them”.
The three million or so EU nationals living here are the fathers and mothers, aunties and uncles, grandmas and grandads of millions of British children,” Burnham said. “Any uncertainty hanging over their right to be here is tantamount to undermining family life in our country.”
The Government, in refusing to act, was “creating the conditions for the unwelcoming climate to continue and the rises in xenophobic and racist abuse we have seen rising in recent days”, Burnham added.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said there “must be a cast iron guarantee” that EU nationals can remain in the country.
“There is real, and legitimate, upset and worry from European citizens across our country about their long-term status in the UK,” he said.
“Liberal Democrats will not stand by whilst our communities are divided by uncertainty. Regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with Europe around Brexit, EU citizens who have made Britain their home must be allowed to stay.”
Given these comments, foreign-born EU nationals must apply for permanent residence cards and/or British Citizenship as soon as possible. It is the only way to formally safeguard their right to live in their adopted home country.
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