Early signs from Europe are that the UK’s proposals outlined in its Position Paper are simply not going to be accepted by the vast majority of MEPs.
Guy Verhofstadt; the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, made it quite clear in an article co-written with a cross-party group of MEP’s, dated 09 July 2017, and published in yesterday’s Guardian.
Bearing the headline Improve the Brexit offer to EU citizens or we’ll veto the deal.
“The British proposal treats EU citizens in the UK less favourably than even the Vote Leave manifesto did. In the European parliament, we can’t accept this.”
The article focuses on the principles outlined in par 6 of the summary proposals in the UK’s position paper and further detailed at paragraphs 17-34 of the detailed proposals setting out “A new Status in UK Law.
Par 17 states
“All EU citizens (and their families) in the UK, regardless of when they arrived, will, on the UK’s exit, need to obtain an immigration status in UK law. They will need to apply to the Home Office for permission to stay, which will be evidenced through a residence document. All EU citizens (and their families) in the UK, regardless of when they arrived, will, on the UK’s exit, need to obtain an immigration status in UK law. They will need to apply to the Home Office for permission to stay, which will be evidenced through a residence document.”
Makes it clear that future family members of EU Citizens who arrived before the ‘specified date’ (as yet unspecified), who arrive after the UK has left the EU will have to qualify for entry and settlement either through current rules that apply to non-EU nationals or to new rules (as yet unspecified and yet to be drafted) relating to post exit immigration rules for EU citizen’s arriving after the as yet (unspecified), specified date.
Little wonder Mr Verhofstadt says
“But the real cause for concern lies in the continuing uncertainty. This proposal leaves so many unanswered questions. —-And why won’t the UK government simply confirm that the cut-off date for all European citizens will not be sooner than the date of Brexit itself?”
In the article Mr Verhofstadt claims
“family members will be subject to minimum income requirements, and it is unclear what the status of “post-Brexit” babies would be. This carries a real risk of creating second-class citizenship. The proposal is even in contradiction with the Vote Leave manifesto, which promised to treat EU citizens “no less favourably than they are at present”
Minimum Income Requirement
[su_box title=”For current non EEA partner or spouse settlement visa applications you have to show that:” box_color=”#7f7672″]
You are in a recognised relationship detailed in the rules
You can prove you have a good knowledge of English
You and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year if:
you’re applying as a partner
you want to settle in the UK (get ‘indefinite leave to remain’) within 5 years
You need to earn an extra:
£3,800 for your first child
£2,400 for each child you have after your first child
This is the called the ‘minimum income requirement’.
How can this retrospective law in any way be reasonable especially given the legitimate expectations of EU citizens arriving before Brexit was even voted upon?
Mr Verhofstadt and co –writers of the article clearly agree.
“We will never endorse the retroactive removal of acquired rights. The European parliament will reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, less favourably than they are at present.”
And finally to the matter of arbitration the MEPs have their own “red line”
The importance of the continued role of the ECJ is also emphasised in the article.
“While we have the greatest respect for the British legal system, courts apply the laws adopted by British politicians, who are currently unable to give sufficient guarantees for the years to come, let alone for a lifetime. British and European citizens should be able to enforce their rights under a mechanism in which the European court of justice plays a full role.”
Maybe this is the only hope for the principle of natural justice to be upheld?