In late 2017 the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, struck a deal with the EU so that Brexit negotiations could move on to the next phase. The revelation of this advance of Article 50 means that there is now a level of clarity regarding the rights of expats.
The most important aspects revealed at the closing of phase one were in regard to the right to reside, domestic healthcare, and the future of Ireland.
Residency Rights for UK Citizens
UK nationals who are living in an EU member state country as of March 29th 2019 will be allowed to remain living in the country for as long as they wish and will retain the same rights they currently have, including the right to apply for residency after living in the country for five years. These same rights will apply automatically to any current partner or child. Future partners and unborn children will have the right to live in the country and right of permanent residence.
It is expected that there will be a two-year period between 2019 and 2021 where freedom of movement will continue whilst the UK withdraws completely. During this phase it is predicted that those who already have permanent residency will receive a new free permanent residency document.
Rights for Non-UK Citizens
EU citizens living in the UK will have their rights to live, work and study protected. They will receive exactly the same as stated above for UK citizens living in EU member countries.
Brexit Healthcare Decision
Both UK nationals in Europe and EU citizens in the UK will be able to continue using the European Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme after March 2019 as long as their residency continues.
Ireland and Brexit
With phase one now closed the UK government and the EU have agreed that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland. The Joint Agreement document between the EU and UK echoes both parties’ want to maintain the free flow of goods without border checks.
The agreement states there will be no hard border and no new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.