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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Volume 616: debated on Monday 31 October 2016

10. What estimate she has made of the number of non-UK EU nationals currently residing in the UK who will be entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain after the UK leaves the EU. (906886)

The Government have been clear that they want to protect the status of EU nationals already living here. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible are if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return.

My question was what estimate the Secretary of State had made of the numbers, because on 10 October her colleague the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union said that by the time we leave, five out of six migrants will have, or be entitled to, indefinite leave to remain. That is 2.5 million people. Is that the policy of the Government?

I saw those reports. They were based on existing public research, which estimates that around 80% of EU migrants already here will have been resident in the UK for up to five years by the start of 2019. However, it is too simplistic and too early to reach definitive conclusions about what the outcome will be when we do leave.

There are EU nationals who are working, contributing and paying tax and who have children at school in every parliamentary constituency in the UK. If it is not cynical using them as a bargaining chip, why on earth will she not finally do the right thing and announce that they will be allowed to stay in this country?

In answer to an earlier question, the Prime Minister has already said that that is the intention. It is only to ensure that there is a reciprocal arrangement that we have held back from giving that final commitment, which we sincerely hope will be made.