"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday 16 February 2018

Withdrawal Agreement - Phase One

Withdrawal Agreement - Phase One

There is a lot of angst amongst EU and British citizens who have exercised their treaty rights to be in the UK with their family.  This is especially so for the family of Surinder Singhers who will reach the point of five years of residence after we exit from the EU.  

Hence, protection in the agreement UK and EU reach is important to ensure this group does not find itself in no man's land - like the family members of other EU citizens, this group too needs to be assured of a continuous right to stay.

BritCits has received several pieces of communication from the European Commission, Europe Direct Contact Centre and even their MP's on this issue - thank you to the lovely members who have shared this with us. 

This letter dated 10 August 2017, from former Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, sent to the constituent MP of a member, indicates that the UK government's proposal was for the family members of EU nationals, which includes British citizens, to be able to obtain settled status after five years.

It appears that the first phase of agreement reached excludes Surinder Singhers - this was confirmed in a letter sent on behalf of Michel Barnier:

A member also forwarded an email she received on 6 February 2018 which has more detail, especially at the links provided:

" Thank you for contacting the Europe Direct Contact Centre.

In response to your inquiry, we inform you that the overall objective of the Withdrawal Agreement with respect to citizens' rights is to provide reciprocal protection for Union and UK citizens, to enable the effective exercise of rights derived from Union law and based on past life choices, where those citizens have exercised free movement rights by the specified date (time of the UK's withdrawal - foreseen on 29 March 2019 unless the negotiation period of two years is extended by unanimous agreement of the European Council and the United Kingdom). This is a limited personal scope, which is the necessary consequence of the legal basis for this disentanglement process as set out in Article 50 TEU. UK nationals in scope of withdrawal agreement have protected rights in the state(s) in which they have residence rights on exit day, without prejudice to Social Security rights.

The common understanding reflected in the Joint Report means that both Union citizens and United Kingdom nationals, as well as their respective family members can continue to live, work or study as they currently do under the same conditions as under Union law, benefiting from the full application of the prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of nationality. The only restrictions which apply are those derived from Union law. Those who have not yet acquired permanent residence rights – if they have not lived in the host State for at least five years –will be fully protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, and be able to acquire permanent residence rights also after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal.

The deal should protect all those family members who have lawfully resided with an EU citizen in the UK before Brexit. They will be allowed to stay but will have to apply for a new UK status (special status) and a new UK residence document.

Full details of the Commission's assessment are available in the Commission's Communication on the State of Progress of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/1_en_act_communication.pdf) as well as in the joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the European Union (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf).

Questions and Answers – the rights of EU27 and UK citizens post-Brexit, as outlined in the Joint Report from the Negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government can be downloaded here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/2017-12-12_qa_citizens_rights_1.pdf

The latest information on the ongoing Article 50 TEU negotiation process and principles for the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union can be obtained under the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/brexit-negotiations_en#latest

Furthermore, you can contact the authorities in the UK to clarify the status of your husband - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/status-of-eu-nationals-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know#agreement-on-rights-for-eu-citizens-and-their-families / https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-exiting-the-european-union

We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions about the European Union, its activities or institutions."

A British citizen who raised his concern over the plight of Surinder Singhers directly with the Home Office got this reply on 9 February 2018:

 Communications between one of our member's and her MP, Anna Soubry, and that between Anna Soubry and Robin Walker, the Minister responsible for citizens rights' in the Department for Exiting the European Union.


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