EU nationals ‘can stay’ if no-deal Brexit
WITH LESS than six months until the UK formally leaves the European Union, what's the prognosis for our many EU national members in the UK and our numerous UK nationals living and working in the EU?
With the UK already stockpiling medicines to prepare for the eventuality of a chaotic "no-deal" exit from the European Union, the chances of the UK pulling off a deal with the EU which includes Settled Status (see the June Freelance) for EU nationals here are diminishing. In the event of a really catastrophic no-deal, it's not even certain what happens to the provisionally agreed transitional period up to 31 December 2020 - during which freedom of movement is supposed to continue.
However, just before we went to press, UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a statement appeared to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, even in the event of "no deal." She said, "There are over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK... even if there is no deal your rights will be protected... we want you to stay." There are no further details yet.
EU nationals in the UK are supposed to be able to start their applications for Settled Status sometime "later in the year". We're still waiting for a date, so expect an unseemly rush when it's eventually announced that applications are open.
A "managed live trial" of the EU Settlement Scheme, as Settled Status seems to now be officially known, started in late August. The Independent reported that EU nationals who are staff at three universities in Liverpool and NHS workers in north west England are being registered under this pilot, in an attempt to iron out any problems with the process in advance of its eventual roll-out. The managed trial includes only employees on salaried contracts,:there's no detail yet on the Settlement Scheme for the self-employed.
Meanwhile, Society of Authors Public Affairs manager Tim Gallagher has appealed for evidence from authors on how they are likely to be affected by Brexit, or are already affected. The examples he gives are authors who make appearances at literary festivals in the EU and whose freedom of movement to do so in the future may be restricted, or authors who have benefited from the EU's Creative Europe funding.