Responding to British in Europe’s tireless advocacy and requests for clarification on these points, the UK government have issued a policy paper on the rights of UK nationals in the EU.
We welcome the improvement in some areas following our feedback, for instance the points on healthcare and social security, and the recognition of the importance of seeking to maintain the current coordinated system, but are concerned to see that in other areas less progress has been made:
- In the event of the WA being signed off, UK nationals returning to the UK will still have lesser family reunification rights than EU citizens in the UK covered by the WA. While there has been some improvement since the first discussions, UK nationals needing to return to the UK to, say, look after elderly parents past 29 March 2022 will find their family members caught in the UK Immigration Rules.
- Pension uprating is still stated as being subject to reciprocity. As BiE has argued in our pensions paper, the requirement of reciprocity is simply specious. To quote from our paper: “The UK’s policy of not uprating State Pensions for those resident outside the UK save where obliged by “reciprocity” to do so is itself irrational and unjust to those who have earned a pension by paying contributions and taxes to this country.”
- The seven year transition period for British citizens in the EU 27 wishing to study in the UK is very much to be welcomed but why put a limit on it, when as far as we are aware there is no legal reason to prevent it continuing.
We have communicated these points to the relevant government departments and await their response.