According to Cabinet papers leaked to the Telegraph, the government of Prime Minister Theresa May will offer citizens of the European Union who are living in the United Kingdom a unilateral right to remain in the country even if there is no Brexit deal.
The report said that the leaked papers disclose that the United Kingdom will take a “moral high ground” by offering migrants from the EU the right to continue residing in the United Kingdom and continue to have access to the NHS and claim benefits.
However, the paper also cautioned that the United Kingdom will heavily depend “on the availability of existing labour” should the negotiators of the UK and the EU not be able to strike a deal by March next year.
The details of the offer to the citizens of the EU under a no deal Brexit will be released in one of the 84 technical papers regarding a no deal scenario, which are set to be published from the end of this week.
The paper states that the rights of the citizens of the EU are “one of the most important aspects” of the no-deal planning. It warns that there will be “handling risks” if the government is not able to honour the commitments that it made on citizens rights in 2018 as part of withdrawal negotiations with Brussels.
Ministers have repeatedly emphasised the importance of maintaining the staffing levels in the many of the crucial sectors including social care, construction, and health under any result of the Brexit talks.
All of the 3.8 million EU migrants who are living in the UK would be given the chance to stay and continue to have access to healthcare, pensions, and benefits. They would also be able to bring their spouses and some “close family members” with them to the UK.
The Telegraph disclosed: “The Home Office plans to make an offer to existing EU residents that they can remain in the UK in a ‘no deal’ scenario, in effect unilaterally implementing the (immigration element of the) Citizens’ Rights agreement agreed with the EU in December 2017.”
It added: “The proposal is to make the offer irrespective of whether the EU reciprocates. Any package would need resolution for the reciprocal elements of the December 2017 deal.
The paper continued: “Making an offer is not only important to provide certainty publicly, but will enable the UK Government to take the moral high ground. A number of other plans are also dependent on the Government’s position on this issue, relying heavily on the availability of existing labour in a ‘no deal’ scenario.”