Reply to BiE's letter to the UK Government
British in Europe has received a reply to our letter dated 12 January 2022. We wrote to four Secretaries of State to explain that we were reluctantly closing our virtual doors since we were unable to secure the necessary core funding to continue our work, notwithstanding the generosity of many individual donors living in the EU.
We closed reluctantly because we know we left a long list of unresolved issues and people in need of competent and targeted assistance to access their rights.
In the letter, we outlined some of the outstanding issues in the following areas:
1. Implementation of the WA and Norway-UK and Swiss-UK agreements
2. The right to return to the UK of UK citizens with non-UK family members
3. Draft changes in the Nationality and Borders Bill on deprivation without notice of UK citizenship for dual nationals
4. Implementation of the 7-year grace period on home fees and student finance for prospective UK citizen students living in the EEA and Switzerland
5. Potential changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for recipients in the EEA and Switzerland.
James Cleverly, Minister of State for Europe and North America, replied to the points we raised and underlined "how much the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has valued the extensive work that British in Europe has done over the years on behalf of UK nationals living in Europe".
After replying to the specifics (which you can read in full below), he closes with confirming:
"We as a Government are committed to working closely with the EU and its Member States on their obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and will continue to work to ensure citizens’ rights are upheld across the EU. This includes through the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights, which met most recently on 24 January 2022, and at which I understand you provided an update on pressing issues in Member States. The Committee will continue to meet at least annually, with the next meeting due to take place in mid-2022. The Government also has similar structures in place to monitor the implementation of the Separation Agreement in the EEA EFTA States and the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement in Switzerland. We will also continue to work bilaterally with Member States, including via our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in Europe.
Finally, and as British in Europe closes its virtual doors, I would like to take the time to thank you again for all the work you and British and Europe (sic) have done on Citizens’ Rights and for the constructive nature of your approach to working with the FCDO."
The full reply is attached.
Published 23 March 2022
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