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Goans with Portuguese passports to benefit from UK plan for EU citizens post Brexit

Thousands of Goans moved to the UK in recent years, using a provision in Portugal law that allows those born before Goa’s liberation in December 1961 and two generations to opt for Portuguese nationality. As Portuguese citizens, they are EU passport holders and thus eligible to move, live and work across the bloc.

world Updated: Jun 22, 2018 08:46 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Goans,Portuguese passports,benefit
The fate of 3.8 million EU citizens in the UK and nearly one million British citizens in the EU is uncertain following the Theresa May-led UK government’s decision to exit from the grouping by March 29, 2019.(AFP/File Photo)

Thousands of Goans with Portuguese passports who moved to the United Kingdom in recent years will be able to stay permanently under post-Brexit plans for EU citizens announced by the Theresa May government on Thursday.

The fate of nearly 3.8 million EU citizens in the UK and nearly one million British citizens in the EU is among key elements of ongoing talks between Brussels and London before the UK’s scheduled exit from the grouping by March 29, 2019.

Announcing plans for the settlement scheme in the House of Commons, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said applicants will only need to complete three key steps — prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare they have no serious criminal convictions.

Two types of status will be granted to Goan-origin Portuguese and other EU citizens: Settled status for those who have lived in the UK for five years or more, and pre-settled status for those who have been in the UK less than five years.

Thousands of Goans moved to the UK in recent years, using a provision in Portugal law that allows those born before Goa’s liberation in December 1961 and two generationsto opt for Portuguese nationality. As Portuguese citizens, they are EU passport holders and thus eligible to move, live and work across the bloc.

Trials of the UK scheme are due to begin in June, with people allowed to start registering in the autumn. The scheme will run through the two-year transition period after Brexit day and beyond, up to June 2021.

Home secretary Sajid Javidtold a parliamentary committee that the Home Office will not look for excuses to deny them settled status. The default position will be to grant the status, he said, adding there will have to be a very good reason for refusal.

Nokes said in the House of Commons: “EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and to our society. They are our friends, family and colleagues and we want them to stay. This is an important step which will make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need to continue working and living here.”

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 07:59 IST