Brexit, likely the most controversial happening in the history of the EU, has been a cause for disunity between Great Britain and their continental allies. Talks over a final ‘divorce bill’ that the UK will pay before leaving on March 29, 2019 have been slow going.
Another road block may be the recent announcement of the UK’s intention to register all EU nationals living in Great Britain before Brexit.
Amber Rudd, UK Home Secretary, stood before Ministers of Parliament on October 17 to inform them of the government’s plan of action. Currently, the Theresa May administration is planning to begin registration of some 3 million EU nationals residing in the UK.
The process is promised to be quick and easy for those registering, but will take many additional staff and funding to make the transition pain-free. Some 1,200 staffers will be hired beginning in Spring 2018 to prepare, and the Treasury has allocated £50 million ($65.93 million/€55.95 million) to fund the registration.
Philip Rutman, the Home Office’s permanent secretary, has also confirmed the hiring of 300 additional border guards. The additional security will be fully trained by September 2018 to aid in the operation, as well as any future issues resulting from Brexit.
The process of registering new permanent residents from the EU will also be streamlined, says Secretary Rudd. The current application consists of some 80 pages of documents, while the new system is promised to be ‘easy access’ and be available online for the affected parties.
Simply signing up, however, will not guarantee acceptance for EU nationals currently living within UK borders. The applicants will be screened for any past criminal activity, their identities would be independently confirmed and their employment status would also be considered.
Rudd claims that EU nationals living in the UK for five or more years would also be able to apply for settled status residence permits.
The European Commission and the European Parliament have both agreed that there must be some oversight from the bloc in this process. There are concerns from the EU nationals that the UK’s Home Office would be unable to handle the strain of the registration.
A member of Angela Merkel’s CDU party, Elmar Brok, has publicly commented that the decision to let EU nationals stay or go must be a continental one, not just a British one.
It is yet unconfirmed whether or not the upcoming European Summit in Brussels (October 19-20) will include talks about the foreign nationals issue.
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