Are the citizens’ rights of the EU citizens in the UK guaranteed even in case of a No-Deal Brexit? This myth buster will look at these claims in more detail.

The British Government, like Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union) in the video below, and the UK press in general keep on repeating that the citizens’ rights of the EU citizens in the UK have been guaranteed even in case of a No-Deal Brexit.

Twitter / Robin Walker

Myth 1: Citizens’ rights in case of No-Deal are guaranteed.

Stuart McDonald MP busting this myth here: “A unilateral promise from the Prime Minister can be here today and gone tomorrow. [...] it doesn’t bind her successors [...] their rights can be repealed at a blink of an eye.”

Stuart McDonald MP / Parliament TV

Myth 2: It is a registration process.

Often repeated in the press that Settled Status is a registration process: Dr Philippa Whitford MP busting this myth: “There should not be an application. Even a registration would suggest something different. An application implies you can be refused.”

Philippa Whitford MP / Parliament TV

Myth 3: British Citizens in Europe are best protected by using EU citizens as bargaining chip.

A long-standing myth, used by the British Government continuously to deny EU citizens a real citizens’ rights guarantee despite BritishInEurope repeatedly calling for the government to do so since 2016.

Letter dated 12 December 2016.

Myth 4: The latest unilateral ‘guarantee’ for EU citizens will benefit British citizens in Europe.

Stuart McDonald MP disagrees. And so do we: 28 unilateral ‘guarantees’ will lead to divergence of rights over time. Detrimental to both EU citizens in the UK and the British in Europe over time.

Stuart McDonald MP / Parliament TV

Myth 5 (1): The Government ‘guarantee’ ensures that EU citizens continue their live as before.

As Stuart McDonald points in case of No-Deal: “The Government’s arrangements for EU nationals in an event of No-Deal are a watered down version of the citizens rights in the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Stuart McDonald MP / Parliament TV

Myth 5 (2): The Government ‘guarantee’ ensures that EU citizens can continue their live as before.

But even in case of a deal, the citizens’ rights for EU citizens are not the same as before as this comparison shows:


Myth 6: It is a secured guarantee.

Apart from the legal uncertainty (Myth 1) which generous guarantee comes at a price? £65 in this case. Even Conservative MP Huw Merriman was in disbelief that the government was charging for Settled Status.

Huw Merriman MP / BBC

The benchmark to test this ‘unilateral guarantee’ and/or Settled Status under the Withdrawal Agreement must be the EU referendum promise given to EU citizens by Vote Leave in June 2016:

- no change
- automatic
- no less favourable

Vote Leave, June 2016.

What we ended up with is Settled Status which does not deliver anything on the Vote Leave promises. As Drew Hendry MP summarises correctly, we ended up with a scheme summed up best as:

“Apply to Pay to Stay”

And all that with fewer rights.

Drew Hendry MP / Parliament TV

All, please, stop using the words ‘guarantee’, ‘registration’, ‘same’ or ‘secured’.

Settled Status, whether with a Brexit Deal or without, is none of that.

And please, help us fight for a citizens’ rights system that delivers certainty, is fair and transparent, and that includes everyone.


You can help us inform EU citizens across the UK, monitor the UK Home Office performance on Settled Status and fight for a fairer system by donating to the3million.🔷

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)

(Cover: the3million - People’s Vote March, October 2018.)



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the3million is the largest group of EU citizens in the UK, with a team of 50-ish active volunteers working on advocacy, policy, legal, media, social media, grassroots and events.