Guarantee The EU Nationals’ Right To Stay Now

Guarantee The EU Nationals’ Right To Stay Now

The UK Government wishes to use the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK in their negotiations with the European Union, They wish to use the status of EU nationals as bargaining chips to ensure the status of British citizens living in the EU with the other twenty-seven nations.

This may appear like a reasonable position and very popular with certain sections of the Leave vote (AKA UKIP voters). There are at least two reasons why this is not only an immoral choice but also a logistical nightmare.

The facts

First, there are the numbers. There are close to 2.2 million British expats living in the EU currently.

  • Spain – 319 thousand
  • Ireland – 249 thousand
  • France – 171 thousand
  • Germany – 99 thousand
  • Italy – 66 thousand
  • Netherlands – 47.3 thousand
  • Cyprus – 38.8 thousand
  • Poland – 35.8 thousand
  • Other EU nations – 148 thousand

British Expats living abroad in the EUI

So currently we are members of the EU and the Single Market. This means that we have no control over who comes in from the EU and we have no control over who goes out to the EU. That is the case and anyone who tells you differently is not being honest or is ignorant. UKIP does have at least one honest claim in that within the Single Market, we have no control over immigration. Your view on whether that is good or not is entirely down to you.

However, for countries outside the EU like India, America, China and so on, there are strict immigration rules and we can decide who we want in our country and who we don’t want. This is what a third of leave voters said was the most important issue for them was sorting out our immigration policy.

But this means that when we come out of the EU and the Single Market, we will just be like the rest of the world. That means that each of the twenty-seven member states will get to individually decide on their immigration policy towards Britain. Understand what that means. We will be able to control our borders from all twenty-seven member states and they will each, individually, be able to do it in return.

EU nationals living in the UK


So when it comes to EU nationals and British expats, you won’t be able to negotiate as a block. It will become an issue for each state individually. It will literally be on a country by country basis. As you may have noticed from the two bar charts, British expats are mostly in Spain and it is mostly Polish nationals moving to the UK, so you can see how difficult these negotiations would be. It isn’t worth the time spent arguing this and as a show of good faith, the government should guarantee their legal status and quit with the platitude of “We want to be able to guarantee their status”. Just do it.

On a further logistical point, there is estimate close to three million EU nationals here. If their legal status is not guaranteed, what is the government going to do? Go full Donald Trump and start removing them? What would that look like to the rest of the World? What will that look like on our streets with police officers and other officials removing people from their homes and splitting up families?

It simply isn’t worth the time talking about it. The government should just guarantee their status and move on to discussing real issues with the EU.

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