Pensions and healthcare: UK offers assurances to Brits in EU over no-deal Brexit




The policy paper spells out some of the measures that would be taken to protect the citizens’ rights of EU nationals living in Britain and those of Britons living throughout the EU if there was a no-deal Brexit.


However the government insists that the only way the rights of Britons can really be protected is if the deal is ratified.


“The Withdrawal Agreement is the only way the UK government can guarantee the rights of the one million UK nationals living in the EU,” says the document.


The British government has called on EU member states to uphold their commitments to protect the rights of Britons living in their countries, whom they want to be able to stay and enjoy the same rights and protections as when Britain was part of the EU.


But the government accepts that depends on London acting first.


“That is why the UK has taken steps to remove any ambiguity and provide complete reassurance for EU citizens in the UK. We ask that the EU and Member States do the same for our nationals,” reads the policy paper.


The paper contains some pledges that will be important to Britons living throughout the EU, notably those who are retired.


“Where it is in our control, the UK will also continue to preserve certain rights of UK nationals in the EU, for example by continuing to pay an uprated UK state pension to eligible UK nationals living in the EU.”


And if British nationals found they could no longer continue their lives in the EU and were forced to return home then the government said it would “consider” rather than guarantee certain measures.


On the subject of health and voting the government said: “We understand that access to healthcare is vital and can confirm that UK nationals who returned to the UK permanently in a ‘no deal’ scenario would have access to NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as UK nationals already living here. They would also be able to register to vote in local and national elections.


And on the issue of returning with family members who are not British nationals:


“We understand the right to bring EU and non-EU citizen family members is an important concern. The Government is considering the support that could be offered and will set out further details in due course,” reads the paper.


And when it comes to accessing vital benefits and housing, the government says it is considering how best to act to support returning UK nationals.


“We recognise that an issue raised by UK nationals is their ability to access to benefits and housing quickly on return to the UK. Arrangements will be made to ensure continuity of payments for those who return and are already in receipt of UK state pension or other UK benefits while living in the EU.


“We are considering how support could be offered to returning UK nationals where new claims are made and will set out further details in due course. UK nationals will continue to be able to access education in the UK,” the paper says. 


But the British government accepts that in the case of no deal, much depends on reciprocal agreements so no matter what London offers to EU citizens, Brits in the EU still need their adopted countries to agree to put the same measures in place.


“Aspects of the reciprocal healthcare and social security coordination section of the Withdrawal Agreement require reciprocity from the EU or individual Member States and cannot be protected unilaterally.


“We are exploring options to protect past social security contributions, made in the EU and the UK, and reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario. We are in the early stages of discussions and will announce further details of such options prior to our exit to allow citizens to make appropriate arrangements.”


You can read the full policy paper by clicking here.


 


 





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