Liberty calls on British Prime Minister to end uncertainty for EU nationals by guaranteeing their family, work and welfare rights

29/06/2017
Our Movement

FIDH’s member organisation in the UK, Liberty, is urging in a press release published today the British Prime Minister to end uncertainty regarding EU nationals’ rights within the UK following Brexit, and more specifically to ensure that EU nationals concerned retain all their existing rights. A reaction has been issued today following the presentation of a paper laying out the government’s plans in this regard. This initiative is part of a wider project by Liberty aimed at assessing and reacting to the human rights implications of Brexit.

Liberty has called on Theresa May to guarantee beyond doubt that EU citizens will retain all of their existing rights, as she sets out plans for them to be given “settled status” today.

The Prime Minister will present a paper to the House of Commons this afternoon, laying out details of a so-called “fair and serious offer”.

To offer real certainty to EU citizens and their families, the paper must guarantee that those in the UK at the agreed “cut-off point” will:

- Keep all the rights they currently have – including work, healthcare and welfare.

- Retain current EU family unity rights, allowing their family members to join them in the UK without having to fulfil onerous income and English language requirements.
The Government has already outlined intentions to make the migration of EU nationals and their family members subject to broader UK immigration law after Brexit. This means the family members of those with settled status would be forced to fulfil the oppressive income and language requirements already imposed on others, including UK citizens with family living abroad.

- Be treated equally regardless of their nationality or status – whether they are workers, students or pensioners.

“The Prime Minister needs to remember that these are people, not bargaining chips. They are families who have built their lives here and given a huge amount to this country. The Brexit vote doesn’t give her a mandate to take away their rights.
If the Government intends to force EU citizens’ family members to meet ludicrously high income requirements and undergo strict English language tests after Brexit, it would leave their fundamental right to a family life in serious jeopardy – as it already is for so many UK residents seeking to bring loved ones from overseas.
Gaining permission to stay in the UK will mean nothing if they’re made to live as second-class citizens.”
Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty.

Liberty has launched a major programme of research to make sure UK residents leave the EU with their rights intact, focusing on immigration, police and security cooperation and privacy.

On 26 June 2017, the British Government published a paper laying out its plans to "safeguard the position" of EU citizens living in the UK.

“This plan will take away EU citizens’ rights – full stop. No one ever voted for that.
The Prime Minister has fired the starter pistol on a race to the bottom on family unity. Anyone trying to join loved ones after Brexit – even if their family members have this ‘settled status’ – will be subject to the unfair, oppressive regime of language tests and unachievable income thresholds that our Government already inflicts on so many others.
Is this the post-Brexit country we want – one with first and second class citizens, where the fundamental right to a family life is a privilege for those who can afford it?”
Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty.

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Contact:
Sophie Armour
Media Officer
0207 378 3656 / 07973 831 128
pressoffice@liberty-human-rights.org.uk

For more information, please consult Liberty’s website.

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