Migrants from the European Union who travel to Britain under the current EU freedom of movement rules ahead of the UK leaving the union may not have guaranteed rights to remain in the country, Brexit Minister David Davis has suggested.
He told the Mail on Sunday there were a “variety of possibilities” and that the indefinite leave to remain rules may only be applied before a certain date.
David Cameron’s government, in which new Prime Minister Theresa May was Home Secretary with responsibility for immigration issues, had sought to make it more difficult for non-EU nationals to obtain UK visas, as part of efforts to reduce immigration figures. The policy was adopted because the Government was unable to control how many EU migrants came into the UK due to the freedom of moment that is enshrined in membership of the EU.
However, it is now possible that even more EU nationals will come to the UK ahead of the UK’s formal separation from the union because they will require UK visas after the cut-off date.
Mrs May’s government is now looking at how to tackle such a scenario and Mr Davis has not given any guarantees for the future immigration status of EU nationals already living and working in the UK.
The Minister said: “We will get a generous settlement for EU migrants here now and a generous settlement for British citizens in the EU.”
He said that if the issue was worked through with other nations, people’s futures would not be used as a “bargaining chip”. Mr Davis said he expected the EU to be rational about its citizens’ futures and therefore be rational about the immigration status of UK citizens living in EU states.