EU mulls offering British expats additional freedom of movement rights

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The possible offer is separate to the ongoing trade negotiations. - PA
The possible offer is separate to the ongoing trade negotiations. – PA

British people living in the EU when the Brexit transition period ends will be given additional freedom of movement rights under plans being considered by Brussels.

European Commission officials are mulling plans that will allow British citizens living in an EU country at the end of 2020 deadline to move to and work in another country in the bloc in a similar fashion to EU citizens. 

The unilateral offer is expected to come with strings such as a requirement to show five years continuous residence in the EU. 

Details of the offer on onward free movement were explained at a Thursday meeting of the EU-UK Joint Specialised Committee on citizens rights, Politico reported. 

“We received good news on combining our Withdrawal Agreement status with other EU immigration statuses, which should provide some UK citizens in the EU with some further mobility rights,” Fiona Godfrey, co-chair of the British in Europe campaign told the news website. 

“We now need clarity on how those rights will be evidenced.”

There are about 1.1 million British citizens living in the EU.  Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, they would only be granted residence rights in the EU country they lived in, rather than keep free movement rights for the whole bloc. 

EU citizens living in the UK must apply for settled status to secure their residency rights in Britain. There have been 3.7 million applications and more are expected ahead of the June 30 deadline next year. 

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said, “Citizens’ rights has been an absolute priority and the Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of UK nationals living in the EU by the end of the transition period on December 31 2020, ensuring that they can continue to live their lives in the EU broadly as they did before.”

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