Thank you for contacting me about the status of EU nationals in the UK. This is an issue I have written about previously, here.
Securing the status of EU citizens, as well as that of British nationals in the EU, is a priority as soon as Article 50 is triggered and the negotiations have begun, and I have said both in the House and in correspondence that I would like to see this settled as soon as possible. It goes without saying that EU nationals make an invaluable contribution to our economy, our society and our daily lives. I can assure you that there has been no change in their status in the UK. Many EU residents of the UK will already be eligible for permanent settlement here, and if you know someone in Selby & Ainsty who is either having difficulty with an application or does not know how to, please encourage them to contact my office to see what assistance we might be able to provide.
I understand you may be concerned about how long this is taking to resolve, but the Government remains committed to providing reassurance to EU nationals here and UK nationals in the EU as a priority once Article 50 has been triggered. Some EU countries have insisted that there can be ‘no negotiation before notification’, and therefore that nothing can be settled until Article 50 is triggered.
It is in the best interests of all for this issue to be reconciled as quickly as possible and I welcome the Prime Minister’s particular commitment to resolving this issue. However, I must reiterate that while I have sympathy with the suggestion that the UK should unilaterally guarantee the position of EU nationals who are here, I believe it would be irresponsible and unfair of the UK Government – which has a duty to do its best for British citizens everywhere – to proceed without obtaining the same for them. Therefore, I was unable to support any amendments calling for a unilateral guarantee, though as I have said before I would happily have voted in favour of any amendment regarding a reciprocal guarantee. It goes without saying that I do not wish to see forced repatriations of those who have lived and worked here prior to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch.