The deportation of EU citizens has been a heated debate in the post-Brexit UK. Many EU residents who have resided in the UK for years faced deportation threats as the UK separated from the EU.

The EU settlement scheme provided EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens and their eligible family members residing in the UK before the transition period ended with the opportunity to protect their residence in the UK after the transition period ends.

While deportation of EU citizens has been a very real concern, both the UK and EU have been taking steps to safeguard the rights of citizens. The latest meeting of the Citizens’ Rights Specialised Committee took place on January 24, 2022. Read on to learn more about it and the discussions on deportation threats to EU as well as UK citizens.

Citizens’ Rights Specialised Committee Meeting 

Following the meeting, which was co-chaired by representatives from the UK government and the European Commission, the UK government and the European Commission issued a joint statement. A number of EU Member State representatives were also present.

The Withdrawal Agreement established the Committee to supervise the implementation and execution of the Citizens’ Rights section of the Withdrawal Agreement, which covers the status of UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, as well as their family members.

The UK and the EU discussed the implementation and execution of the Withdrawal Agreement’s Citizens’ Rights section, noting that the final grace periods in the constitutive Member States had now expired. The meeting gave both parties the opportunity to assess any unresolved difficulties.

During the conference, problems about residence were addressed. The EU reiterated their concerns about the compatibility of two aspects of UK implementation with the Withdrawal Agreement:

  • A loss of legal residency if EU citizens fail to apply in time to transition from pre-settled to settled status.
  • A lack of clarity for EU citizens having UK residence status as to whether their rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or by UK immigration law.

The EU highlighted the UK’s stance on these concerns and stated that it will now examine suitable future steps. EU representatives have expressed concerns over the implementation of the UK’s digital-only policy, emphasising the difficulties faced by EU nationals and, in particular, their non–EU family members.

The UK expressed worries about evidencing status in the declaratory Member States. The UK expressed worry that UK nationals are still having difficulty accessing benefits and services, recommending that the EU emphasise the importance of clear instructions in the declaratory Member States. The UK urged the EU to guarantee that all constituent Member States adopted a pragmatic and flexible approach similar to the UK’s.

The Bottom Line 

Both the UK and the EU underlined their common goal of ensuring the proper implementation and execution of the Citizens’ Rights component of the Withdrawal Agreement in both the UK and the EU for the benefit of their citizens. The publishing of a Joint Report on Residence was also addressed, with both the UK and the EU agreeing. The United Kingdom and the European Union have decided to meet again in mid-2022.