Proposed UK residency rules for EU citizens will not apply to Irish people

The British government has published its proposals on the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit

Proposed UK residency rules for EU citizens will not apply to Irish people

Picture by: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

The British government says Irish citizens residing in the UK will not need to apply for "settled status" to protect their entitlements after Brexit.

It comes as the British government revealed its detailed proposals for EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.

In a document published today, Theresa May's government says qualifying individuals will be granted “settled status” - which will allow them to stay in the UK and access public services.

"EU citizens with settled status will continue to have access to UK benefits on the same basis as a comparable UK national under domestic law," the policy paper notes.

On the subject of Irish residents, however, the document notes: "Our proposals as set out below are without prejudice to Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland (and the Crown Dependencies), and the rights of British and Irish citizens in each others’ countries rooted in the Ireland Act 1949.

"These arrangements reflect the long-standing social and economic ties between the UK and Ireland and pre-date both countries’ membership of the EU. As such, we want to protect the Common Travel Area arrangements, and Irish citizens residing in the UK will not need to apply for settled status to protect their entitlements."

An estimated 3.2 million EU nationals are currently living in the UK, and the rights of citizens is one of the primary focuses of the current Brexit negotiations.

EU officials offered a muted response to the proposals, with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier calling for more "ambition, clarity and guarantees."

The EU has already released their own 'position paper' on citizens' rights.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk said Mrs May's proposals for the post-Brexit status of EU citizens living in Britain were "below expectations".

Mrs May had previously referred to the proposals as "fair and serious".

The British Home Office says it is expected the offer will be extended to citizens of Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.

The office also says there will be a 'grace period' of up to two years to allow people to remain in the UK while officials process applications.

"If you haven’t received a document confirming your new immigration status by the end of this period you will no longer have permission to remain in the UK," the office notes.