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Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein: EEA-EFTA Citizens’ Rights

Volume 654: debated on Friday 8 February 2019

The UK has concluded discussions with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (the EEA-EFTA states), on an EEA-EFTA citizens’ rights agreement that would protect the rights of UK nationals already living in the EEA-EFTA states and EEA-EFTA nationals already living in the UK in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the Government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, the Government must ensure the UK is prepared for every eventuality. It is the responsible thing to do.

The EEA-EFTA citizens’ rights agreement would ensure that citizens would be able to continue living broadly as they do today, regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the EU. The arrangements in the agreement closely mirror the arrangements for citizens in the EEA-EFTA separation agreement, published on 20 December 2018. Citizens falling within scope would have broadly the same entitlement to work, study and access public services and benefits as now. The EEA-EFTA separation agreement relies on some of the provisions of the withdrawal agreement which would not apply in a no-deal scenario. In such a scenario, therefore, we would instead bring this no-deal citizens’ rights agreement into force.

Together, these agreements will protect around 17,000 UK nationals living in these countries and approximately 15,000 nationals from these countries in the UK in any scenario.

I am depositing a copy of the agreement and an explainer in the Libraries of both Houses.