Language condemned as EU citizens “allowed” to stay in the UK after Brexit

An article published on Friday on The Telegraph claims that EU nationals in the UK “will be allowed to stay following Brexit.” The story was based on information received from “several cabinet members.” After the UK voted to leave the European Union in June, more than 3 million Europeans in the UK face uncertainty, as their status depends on exit negotiations.

According the The Telegraph, however, the UK Home Office discovered that “five in six could not legally be deported” as more than 80% “will have permanent residency rights by the time Britain leaves.” The articles add that “the remainder – more than 600,000 people – will be offered an amnesty.”

The story did not sound as good news as it could have been and many people, including British, have taken on social media to condemn the language.

“deporting EU migrants” versus giving them “amnesty”.
Amnesty for….being European?
The language of violence:

— Wolfgang Blau (@wblau) October 8, 2016

@Sonic_Screwup @LBC The phrasing of this is striking. ‘Amnesty’. ‘Allowed to stay’ – EU nationals like criminals who must feel gracious…

— Line Langebek (@LenaLongstream) October 9, 2016

Please, journalists, it’s not an “amnesty” for EU nationals legally here. It’s a recognition of the contribution they have made.

— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) October 8, 2016

An amnesty for EU migrants. Which my dictionary defines as: “a general pardon for offences against a government” (the one they help fund)

— Keith Burge (@carryonkeith) October 8, 2016

Foreigners receiving ‘amnesty’ for being foreigners. How benign. via @telegraphnews

— Jelle Simons (@jelle_simons) October 8, 2016

Interesting reports that EU citizens will be able to stay in the UK due to residency rights or… ‘amnesty’. Amnesty from being a foreigner?

— Jakub Krupa (@JakubKrupa) October 8, 2016

This piece still stirs fear by implying deportation was genuinely considered. And amnesty? Are we in a war or what? The article is also 2/4

— Dr Tanja Bueltmann (@cliodiaspora) October 8, 2016

Look forward to PM publicly confirming + news for EU nationals in UK Detail will matter @The3Million @NewEuropeans

— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) October 8, 2016

Nicolas Hatton, of the The 3 Million Forum for EU Citizens, a group that defends rights of EU nationals in the UK, warned that the article “is not an official announcement by the Home Office.” He said: “This is a common PR strategy by the Government to assess the public reaction to a new idea (“amnesty”) and it should only be taken as such. Having said this, the vague plan described in the article could be part of a solution we would endorse but the devil will be in the details.”

All citizens of EU countries have the right to live and work in other EU member states. In Britain, EU citizens who have been resident for more than 5 years acquire “permanent residency” and after 6 years they can apply for citizenship.

The Home Office website currently says: “When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected. The government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.”

On such statement, a report by the House of Commons Library adds: “There will be no certainty on this until a deal is reached between the UK and EU. On the other hand, there is widespread agreement that sudden curtailments of immigration status or mass expulsions would be impractical, undesirable and legally dubious.”

Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved

Photo by Duncan Harris [CC BY 2.0], courtesy Wikimedia Commons 

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