LONDON – The British Home Secretary Amber Rudd assured on Tuesday the citizens of the European Union residing in the United Kingdom that their rights have been safeguarded as the first priority during the Brexit negotiations with the EU.
Rudd wrote a letter on Tuesday to the some 120,000 EU citizens living in the UK, detailing the implications of the agreement reached with Brussels last week and how the new “settled” status scheme will work.
In the letter, published ahead of Christmas, Rudd indicated that she was “proud that so many EU citizens like yourself have built your lives in the UK and made it your home.”
“We value your contribution which is why the government put safeguarding your rights as the first priority in the Brexit negotiations,” the secretary wrote, recognizing that at times these citizens have had “an anxious wait while the fine details were ironed out.”
“We have always said that we will continue to recognize the value you bring to our society, and that we will remain an open and diverse country. Hopefully this deal provides reassurance that we will do just that,” she says in the letter, published by the Ministry of Interior.
Rudd maintained that the agreement reached ensures that the rights of EU citizens and their families “remain broadly the same with access to healthcare, benefits and pensions protected” and that the “existing close family members living outside the UK retain the right to join you in future.”
“These rights will be cemented in UK law meaning you can live your life as you do now with the security of knowing they won’t change,” she insisted.
Apart from the negotiations with the EU, the secretary revealed that her team at the Home Office has been working hard to build a “fast and simple” online system that the EU citizens can use for obtaining their new status without facing “bureaucratic hurdles.”
Rudd added that EU citizens do not have to do anything about it at the moment, but simply wait for more details on how to obtain the new status in 2018. The application process will open in the second half of 2018.
“I hope that the agreement we have reached provides certainty to you and your family ahead of Christmas. EU citizens, like yourself, who have made the UK their home, are our family, our neighbors and our colleagues and we want you to stay,” Rudd concluded.