I blog about Brexit because I want constituents to have important and useful information. I know in particular that there are many people in Norwich who need to know about their future lives, being EU citizens living here, or with British friends and family in EU countries.
So I wanted to share a helpful announcement with you from the Home Secretary. You can find detail here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-publishes-details-of-settlement-scheme-for-eu-citizens
That link will also take you through to the hub page where all the information is held to help keep people informed about EU citizens' rights here and British citizens' rights in the EU. This latest announcement develops from the fundamental agreement reached last December, which secured essential rights planned as part of the leaving deal.
As you will be able to see, the proposal is to create a really simple system for granting settled status. EU citizens living in the UK would just have to answer three simple questions online if they want to continue living in the UK after the country has left the EU. The Government has been clear that their default position will be to grant, not refuse, settled status.
The process of checking the answers to the three simple questions will take place very quickly and all applicants will receive an answer shortly after submitting their details. The scheme will operate online and via a smartphone app, giving people the flexibility to make their applications at a time convenient to them.
In order to make sure there is an effective rollout of this system, it will undergo trials over the next few weeks. Once it is up and running, EU citizens living in the UK will be able to make their applications from the start of next year.
This is a pragmatic idea from the Government that cuts away at bureaucracy and unnecessary red tape to deliver an answer to EU citizens as quickly as possible. It shows that this Government is serious about listening to the concerns and anxieties of people living in the UK, as well as UK citizens living in the EU. The Government anticipates that there will be up to 3.5 million applications and all associated fees will be kept as low as possible.
I sincerely hope that EU countries will do something similar in return, for our citizens living there.