Theresa May has guaranteed all of the 3.2million UK-based EU citizens that they will be allowed to stay and enjoy the same rights as Britons.

However, The Prime Minister insisted that the agreement on citizens’ rights would only be met if the million Britons living on the continent got the same deal.

She also confirmed that Britain will ‘take back control’ of its laws and not be dictated by the European Court of Justice.

Under Mrs May’s plans, unveiled on the eve of the anniversary of the Brexit referendum, EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years by a particular cut-off date will be given a chance to take up ‘settled status’.

This would grant them rights to stay in the country and receive healthcare, education, welfare and pensions as if they were British citizens.

Residents who have been in the UK for a shorter period will have the opportunity to stay on until they have reached the five-year threshold.

The cut-off date is yet to be set but will come between the day when Britain formally notified Brussels of its intention to quit on April 29 2017, and the day when it finally leaves, expected to be March 29 2019.

Anyone arriving after the cut-off date but before the date of Brexit will have a ‘grace period’ – expected to be two years – within which to regularise their immigration status and later seeking settled status.

However, Mrs May told her fellow leaders in Brussels: ‘The commitment that we make to EU citizens will be enshrined in UK law and will be enforced through our highly respected courts.’

And a senior British official added: ‘We have been clear on the European court of justice that we are taking back control of our own laws.’

But the proposals are likely to meet resistance in Brussels, which has already published its own proposals which would guarantee the rights enjoyed under EU law to any European resident in the UK as soon as Brexit happens.

Current EU proposals stipulate that the European Commission should have ‘full powers’ to monitor and the ECJ ‘full jurisdiction’ for as long as citizens’ rights remain protected under the withdrawal agreement.

PM May also promised that the system will be streamlined, doing away with the 85-page permanent residency application form which has been the subject of loud complaints from EU expats.

Prime Ministers Plan For Eu Citizens

  • EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years by a particular cut-off date will be given a chance to take up ‘settled status’, granting them rights to stay in the country and receive healthcare, education, welfare and pensions as if they were British citizens.
  • Those resident for a shorter period will have the opportunity to stay on until they have reached the five-year threshold.
  • Those arriving after the cut-off date but before the date of Brexit will have a ‘grace period’ – expected to be two years – within which to regularise their immigration status with a view to later seeking settled status.
  • The cut-off date is yet to be set, but will come between the day when Britain formally notified Brussels of its intention to quit on March 29, 2017, and the day when it finally leaves, expected to be March 29, 2019.

The PM said the online application process would be streamlined and would replace the current 85-page form.

She said any deal would have to be reciprocal so that Britons living in Europe get same rights and that both sides should seek to agree terms and give certainty as early as possible in the talks.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he hoped leaders of the 27 other nations would match her ‘generous’ proposals with similar offers to the one million British expats on the continent.