Articles 15 and 17 are about citizens rights during the transition period and beyond. They sound quite good on the surface: If someone has been living here for 5 years they can gain residency in the UK. When I read these articles this afternoon, my thoughts went to the burden of having to prove residency and the stories I have heard so far in this regard. Many legitimate people have been denied citizenship or had a terrible time proving continuity of residency.
We have all heard people’s stories as part of the Windrush scandal, the Hostile Environment protocols and the experiences of the EU-27 citizens since the referendum in 2016. If I was an EU -27 citizen reading these articles today, my mind would not be at rest because I would not want my rights to be entirely in the hands of the authors of Windrush, the Hostile Environment or Brexit. Would you trust the UK government looking back at recent history? Would you be worried taking a look at the voting record of the new Brexit Secretary?
I asked my friend, Emmanuelle Brook what she thinks of Article 17. Emmanuelle has direct experience of these issues as an EU-27 citizen living here (and I hate that phrase by the way. She is as much British as French because she has lived and worked here for years, married a Brit and is bringing up her family up here ). This is what she said:
So this is potentially going to be a continuation of the purgatory for millions of people and their families.
Think about the wider picture too: Who is going to want to come here and be subjected to all this hassle? It is not going to be bright young things who have a lot to offer – They will have much better options open to them within the EU-27. This newspaper article is a personal testimony and also touches on how this will affect the UK more broadly.