The rights of EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit

The rights of EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit

By Boni Sones, CBR Policy Associate and Executive Producer of parliamentaryradio.com


The right to remain of EU nationals

Dr Kirsty Hughes, Lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge

In the first of the Centre for Business Research podcast and blog series looking at the” Post-Brexit Options for the UK: Combining Legal and Economic Analysis”, we speak to Dr Kirsty Hughes, Lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge.

Following the UK’s referendum vote narrowly in favour of Brexiting the European Union and the subsequent passing by Parliament of the Conservative government’s Brexit Bill Theresa May the Prime Minister has said that she intends to trigger Article 50, the formal notification to leave the EU, on 29 March 2017.

There are an estimated three million EU nationals living in the UK who are uncertain about their futures with children and families who share that uncertainty, a significant number working in academia, but Dr Hughes says they the government could offer them more reassurance than they are presently being given.

Dr Hughes says Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees a right for EU citizens to remain here and prevents mass deportation. It also gives UK citizens living in the EU the right to remain there.  She explains: “Even when we withdraw from the EU we will still be bound by international human rights law”.

Dr Hughes key quotes:

  • “The Government hasn’t been clear about the status of EU nationals living in the UK following Brexit. It is understandable that people are unsure what is going to happen. The process for trying to establish proof of permanent residency has been such a shambles, that it has caused further uncertainty and it has led to people considering what their options are elsewhere.”
  • She continued: “People’s lives are at stake and it has been handled in a way that is very insensitive. The suggestion that residency can be used in withdrawal negotiations does seem to be overstating matters given that residency is preserved under human rights law. It will be unlawful for us to expel EU nationals and given therefore that it would be unlawful it seems particularly insensitive and unfair for EU nationals to be living in a state of uncertainty which is completely unnecessary.”
  • The Government should give more reassurances, says Dr Hughes: “On the one hand they are making some suggestions about protecting the rights of EU nationals to remain here but on the other hand they are completely undermining it by stating we will have to wait and see what happens with the withdrawal negotiations and this creates a great state of uncertainty for EU nationals.”
  • Dr Hughes ends the podcast by saying: “I think it is important that greater stability is ensured for many reasons. Not just the moral reasons for securing the stability and well-being of people who have been rocked by what happened last summer but also the broader interests of the country rely on creating greater stability.”

You can read the blog of Dr Hughes and the legal arguments supporting the right for EU nationals to remain at KirstyBlogEUNationals.


Listen to the podcast

In the first of the Centre for Business Research podcast and blog series looking at the “Post-Brexit Options for the UK: Combining Legal and Economic Analysis”, we speak to Dr Kirsty Hughes, Lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge.

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