Britain has announced that EU27 nationals arriving in the country with a UK visa ahead of the official Brexit date in 2019 will have their rights protected.
The news comes after a dramatic fall in the number of EU workers arriving in the UK negated any argument that suggested an earlier cut-off date would have minimal impact on British businesses.
Until recently, the government had been keeping their options open regarding the possibility of offering EU nationals fewer rights if they arrive in Britain after 29th March 2017, which was the official date when Theresa May notified Brussels of the country’s intention to leave the European Union.
Government officials had claimed that setting a cut-off date for 2019 would allow EU27 citizens to flood to Britain ahead of the changes. However, EU sources have stated that Britain has now accepted Brussels’ claims that there can be no discrimination for their citizens ahead of the 2019 Brexit date after the numbers took an unexpected downturn.
“The UK has been softening up on the first cut-off date. At first they didn’t want it to be put at the Brexit date,” a diplomatic source said.
“That is because something happened in the meantime: people stopped coming, or started coming in much lower numbers and some are leaving and industry and NHS are pointing that out.”
However, a spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union has suggested that the idea Britain has accepted a later cut-off date is “nonsense”, stating that it will be no earlier than the article 50 trigger date and no later than the final Brexit date.