Nearly 600,000 EU nationals living in the UK may lose the right to stay once Britain leaves the EU, according to the Social Market Foundation.
In a briefing paper it notes that there are 3.55 million EU citizens living in the UK. Of these, it estimates that 590,000 will have to leave under Brexit.
The right to reside in the UK is dependent on the length of time a person has lived here. The government confirmed recently that “EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside”.
The SMF makes its calculation by assuming that Article 50 will be triggered in 2017, after which it will take two years for Brexit to come into effect.
It argues: “Given the likely protracted nature of Brexit, it is probable that all EU citizens arriving in the UK before 2014 and continuing to reside here will have permanent residency rights by the time Brexit actually occurs. Because the ‘five years rule’ is EU law it would be very difficult for the UK Government to rescind it before formally leaving the EU.”
As a result, by 2019, more than 80 percent of the EU citizens currently residing in the UK will retain their right to live here.
However, Theresa May has refused to guarantee the rights of the other 20 percent, a population the size of Glasgow, unless British citizens living in EU countries received the same rights.