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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Deemed leave: A concrete plan to secure EU residents’ rights post-Brexit

The EU referendum result cast immediate doubt on the future status of EU nationals currently resident here; the government has made assurances that they will have the right to stay, yet very few concrete plans have been put forward. This briefing argues that granting EU nationals 'deemed leave', and streamlining the registration process, would be a practical, effective solution.


This month the prime minister will trigger article 50. For the 3 million EU nationals who are resident in Britain, that will throw the uncertainty over their future status into sharper relief. There have been rallies, Lords amendments, and countless articles written on this issue, all imploring the government to take action. Yet despite the handwringing, very few people have put forward a concrete, practical plan for how to secure EU nationals’ rights.

IPPR has been working on this issue since the referendum. In the immediate aftermath of the result, we called on the government to protect the rights of EU nationals and grant citizenship to all Europeans working in the NHS. We have also outlined how the government is, to all intents and purposes, bound to guarantee their rights eventually, as the alternatives are all either impractical or impossible.

In this briefing, we set out a straightforward and practical way for the government to resolve this issue.