I write because the process of the Brexit negotiations – especially the EU mantra that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – brings uncertainty, particularly about citizens’ rights. So I want to reassure all European nationals from countries in the EU and EEA living in Gloucester about your rights in the UK.
I therefore thought it would be helpful to re-state our government’s commitments to EU nationals living and working here both now and after the UK has left the EU. The Prime Minister has already announced that the agreement the UK has reached with the EU means that if you have lived in the UK for five years you can apply for settled status and become a permanent resident. Those who have lived here for less than five years but who arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be granted pre-settled status and can live and work here as normal; and when they have been resident for five years they too will be granted settled status and able to remain here permanently.
But I also want to stress that, regardless of whatever agreement we reach with the EU, and even in the event of a complete breakdown of the negotiations and ‘no deal’, we are unilaterally committed to going ahead with these arrangements. As Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently put it, those working here before the end of 2020 will be ‘allowed to stay no matter what happens’. So there is absolutely no uncertainty about your future status.
I should add that the application forms for settled status have already been designed to be as simple as possible, with the cost capped at £65 – which is much cheaper than the standard British citizenship application. The Government has set up a dedicated webpage to help EU nationals better understand the process and I would urge anyone who is unsure of their position to read through it: www.eucitizensrights.campaign.gov.uk.
I know that the leaders of both Gloucestershire County Council and the Gloucester City Council share my view that European nationals play a key role in our city and county’s public services and business growth, as well as contributing to our cultural diversity, civic society and voluntary activities. You are all, quite simply, just as much a part of Gloucester as anyone else, and your presence and contribution are greatly valued.
So I hope this does help to reassure you about your right to stay in Gloucester and the UK, and if anyone has any queries about their status please do email me at email@example.com.