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As hard Brexit looms again, EU-27 plans on citizens’ rights are skeletal and poorly developed, new report finds

BRUSSELS – six months after the original Brexit deadline, EU member states have missed an opportunity to carry out additional contingency planning to register and protect UK nationals living on the continent in the event of a no deal scenario, a new Migration Policy Institute Europe policy brief finds.

The result could spell major difficulties ahead for the nearly 1 million UK nationals resident in the EU-27 who with hard Brexit would transition overnight from being EU citizens to third-country nationals without free movement or a solid framework to spell out their legal and employment status, health care, social insurance and more.

Fresh analysis finds the transition could hit certain vulnerable populations, including same-sex couples and mixed-nationality families, particularly hard. Whilst the United Kingdom in November 2018 rolled out a pilot programme to enable its 3.6 million residents who are EU-27 nationals to adjust their legal status, numerous problems have come to light, all the while EU-27 countries hastily conceived of their contingency plans in the run up to the original March 2019 deadline, and they remain largely untested and skeletal, authors Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad find.

With the new Brexit deadline in close sight, the policy brief examines what progress has been made across the EU-27 on citizens’ rights planning. The brief, commissioned as part of the MPI Europe project and funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust: On the Brink: Prospects for UK nationals in the EU-27 after a no-deal Brexit, finds a host of administrative, legal, and political challenges which could arise in the case of a no-deal Brexit.