Theresa May is planning to let all European Union (EU) Migrants stay in the UK, even if the bloc refuses to agree on a trade deal and does not treat British expatriate in the same way.
The Prime Minister hopes to take the “moral high ground” by allowing EU migrants to continue to access the taxpayer-funded NHS and claim benefits, according to leaked papers seen by the Daily Telegraph.
The government’s contingency plans for a “no deal” departure from the bloc reportedly rely “on the availability of existing labour”, meaning Mrs May is keen to ensure European migrants stay in the country.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leading pro-Brexit MP who chairs the 60-strong European Research Group, welcomed the idea.
He said: “I have always thought we should make a unilateral offer in this area. EU migrants came here legally and the UK is not the sort of country that applies retrospective legislation.
Foreign Secretary: ‘No Deal’ Brexit Increasingly Likely, Britain Won’t ‘Blink’ https://t.co/HqSODmoBSq
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“They should have broadly the same rights as British citizens — no better or worse.”
However, David Jones, a former Brexit minister, said: “It’s got to be reciprocal. We have a large number of Britons in the EU and their interests have got to be reflected. We have got to look after our own.”
Ministers are publishing a series of documents on Britain’s preparations for no-deal Brexit later this week, in an attempt to make sure the nation is ready no matter what happens.
They will cover sectors including health, social care, tourism, and business.
The status of EU citizens is reportedly considered one of the most important aspects of “no-deal” Brexit planning. The Home Office intends to make the offer to existing EU residents irrespective of whether the EU reciprocates.