Labour Research (August 2016)

Law Queries

EU nationals in the UK

Q. Can our members from other EU countries currently living and working in the UK continue to do so?

A. For now, yes. Nothing has changed in terms of their rights and obligations. However, the EU referendum has created great uncertainty around the future. 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has called on the government to make an “unequivocal statement” that EU migrants already living in UK will be entitled to stay. In a TUC Touchstone blog, Owen Tudor, head of the TUC’s European and international relations department, commented that the TUC hopes that unions “could approach the employers they work with to get their support for such a statement”.

The rights of EU citizens currently in the UK will form part of the negotiations with the EU in the lead-up to the UK’s exit. It is a guessing game as to how these negotiations will conclude. 

There is a possibility that some EU nationals who have been living and working here for a long time may have acquired rights under UK legislation. This is something on which they would need specialist advice. 

Once the legal process of leaving the EU is triggered by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, there is provision for a two-year negotiation period. So unless the government agrees to provide the assurances requested by the TUC, it may be some time until your members’ position is clear.

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