The UK will not automatically deport EU nationals who have not applied to stay in the country after Brexit, European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said on Friday.
Verhofstadt met with Brexit minister Stephen Barclay on Thursday and said he had been given assurances there would be a grace period for those who have not applied for the UK’s “settled status” scheme by the June 2021 deadline.
“What will happen for those people even after the grace period? Well there will be no automatic deportation,” Verhofstadt told BBC.
“After the grace period they will have a possibility to apply, giving the grounds why it was not possible to do it within the normal procedures.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed there would be no automatic deportation.
In November it was reported that the UK was threatening to deport EU citizens if they’d not apply on time, unless they had exceptional circumstances.
More than 2.7m of the around 3.5m Eu nationals living in the UK had applied by the end of the last year.
The EU had expressed its concerns earlier this week regarding the “conflicting signals” on what would happen to nationals who had failed to apply.
Verhofstadt also said the UK was looking into the possibility of providing EU citizens a physical document to prove they have the right to live in the country.
However, Johnson’s spokesman said he wasn’t aware of a planned change.
“The settlement scheme will grant people a secure digital status which future proofs their rights and links to their passport and ID card,” he said.