A report has suggested that European citizens living in Britain could be denied access to benefits such as council housing and social security payments after Brexit. However this is not conformed as MPs are debating whether to end EU nationals’ right to live and work in the UK. The parliament’s human rights committee says the news laws could leave EU nationals, including those who have paid UK tase for years, in an unstable position.
The Home Office says the government has already committed to protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK. “We want them to stay and, whatever the outcome of the ongoing discussions about our exit from the EU, we will protect their rights and ensure they get the UK immigration status they need,” a spokeswoman said. Theresa May has stated that EU citizens will be bale to remain living in the UK even if Britain does leave the European Union without a withdrawal deal. They would also have the rights to keep their social security benefits.
EU nationals who have been given a right to permanent residency due to having lived in the UK for five years will not see their rights being affected. However, MPs and peers on the human rights committee have raised concerns that the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill could leave people in a “rights limbo”. “Although the government has said that it is not its intention to strip EU citizens resident in the UK of their rights, that is the effect of this bill as it stands,” the report says.
The committee has urged ministers to build in guarantees to ensure EU citizens will be entitled to the same rights as now. Labour MP Harriet Harman, said: “We’re talking about the rights of people who have resided in the UK for years, decades even, paying into our social security system or even having been born in the UK and lived here their whole lives.
“Promising that everything will be worked out in the future is not good enough, it must be a guarantee.”
The committee also highlighted concerns about the settlement scheme for EU nationals, notably around the time limit and the lack of a physical proof of status.
The Home Office spokeswoman said the settlement scheme was designed to be “as simple and straightforward as possible” and that the government had launched a nationwide marketing campaign to encourage EU citizens to apply.