Independent authority to monitor EU citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit

People's vote march
People's Vote march in June 2019. [Image by Ilovetheeu/Wikimedia Commons]

As the Brexit nightmare continues, many EU citizens living in the UK have been put into turmoil, worrying about their settled status. Meanwhile, Brits living in Europe are also unsettled.

According to a report by the Guardian, an independent authority will be organized to monitor the situation with EU citizens in the UK. This will also protect their rights when (or if) Brexit actually happens. It will reportedly cost some £145 million for the independent authority to be set up and run. It will be given the authority to receive complaints from EU citizens. It will then launch inquiries into those complaints and if necessary to launch legal action against the UK government.

On Monday this week, a 69-page Brexit impact assessment report was published giving the details, along with the withdrawal agreement bill. The authority will not only be monitoring the settled status program, which is being run by the Home Office for around 3.4 million EU nationals. It will also relate to social welfare and employment rights for the citizens, across a number of government departments.

UK nationals in the EU

Meanwhile, UK nationals in various European countries are feeling uneasy, as so far nothing is 100 percent clear as to their future in Europe. This relates to residency, healthcare and pensions. Many travelled to London recently to join a protest for a people’s vote on Brexit. They travelled from all over the UK and Spain, Italy, France and other EU countries.

Speaking of Italy, it is interesting to note that in 1992, the Italian government passed a law, allowing anyone of Italian descent to apply for citizenship in that country. Any UK expats with Italians in their family tree should check out whether they are suitable for Italian citizenship due to having ancestors from Italy. If anyone is worried about taking Italian citizenship and losing their British citizenship, they shouldn’t worry, as Italy does allow dual citizenship.

Huge march fills London’s streets

While some news outlets said there were hundreds of thousands, others published a figure of 1 to 2 million people marching in the streets. This may, however, be exaggerated! Protesters are demanding a “final say” on Brexit in the way of a second referendum.

While many Leave supporters believe the UK exiting from the EU is the “will of the people,” many UK nationals in European countries point out they had no say in the referendum, as they are not allowed to vote. This is due having been out of the UK for 15 years or more. While “Leavers” might say they have “made their bed” by moving to Europe, these UK nationals could be harshly affected on a very personal level, with healthcare cut off, pensions not increasing and more.

The situation with Brexit is particularly worrying for those living in Spain. In September, the Spanish government warned that should their citizens not be dealt with fairly on a reciprocal basis, even those British nationals with official residence might be forced to leave. At that point the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that settled status had so far only been confirmed for around 57 percent of Spanish nationals in the UK.