The past three years have been difficult for Europeans settled in the UK. On occasion they have been promised rights and on others used as bargaining chips. However, there has been little guidance given to those in need.
The government has previously stated that EU citizens would not need to worry about their legal status. The previous Conservative leadership announced that the UK would maintain a form of free movement until January 2021. Priti Patel, the current Home Secretary, has rejected those previous plans.
Instead, she has stated that should the UK leave the EU without a deal then free movement would end 31st October 2019. The prospect of no deal has become more and more likely over the past week.
This leaves EU Nationals with less certainty. In June 2016, she along with Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, promised EU citizens that there would be no change in their status. Now, Priti Patel, is proposing that freedom of movement could end overnight in the event of no-deal.
Thousands of EU citizens would be at risk under the proposition put forward by Patel. Under the Theresa May regime there was always a transition period. This period was also intended to give the Home Office time to process the applications of those already living here.
It would potentially mean an EU citizen, living and working in the UK that has not regularised their stay, going away on holiday being refused entry to the UK.
Although it seems that these announcements from Priti Patel were to rouse support for Brexit through the tabloids. It still has left many EU citizens nervous.