BREXIT Secretary Brandon Lewis has demanded British expats are not left behind by the EU as the bloc finally says goodbye to the UK after nearly half a century of membership.
Brexiteer Mr Lewis, of the Department for Exiting the EU, penned a patriotic piece for The Times in which he demanded Britons abroad be treated in the same manner that EU citizens will be post-Brexit. His remarks saw him issue a scathing attack on the EU, adding what the UK is doing to help EU migrants is “far more” than what the bloc is doing to help British expats. Mr Lewis said: “Three years and two general elections after the British people voted to leave the EU, we are finally getting Brexit done.
“It will be a time of change for everyone, including the millions of EU citizens who live among us and the million UK nationals who live in the EU.
“I want to reassure the EU citizens here – whether they’re a French architect in Manchester, Italian nurse in London or Polish chef in Glasgow – that we hugely value the contribution they make.
“That’s why our priority from the beginning has been to safeguard their rights through the EU Settlement Scheme, one of the biggest of its kind in the world.”
He continues to refer to the assistance Boris Johnson’s Government will offer EU nationals and those looking to stay permanently in the UK after the January 31 deadline.
He said: “There are 1,500 staff at the home office working hard to help people apply and a dedicated helpline is open seven days a week.
“They do great work and regularly take the time to talk people through their application step-by-step.”
Mr Lewis then takes a swipe at the EU for an apparent failure to help UK nationals living elsewhere in Europe.
Referring to the work he and his team have done, he said: “This is far more than what other EU countries have done for UK nationals abroad.
“It’s now time for EU countries to step up to the plate and make the same generous offer to the million UK nationals who live among them.”
In September, the Government issued advice for expats on both sides ahead of the January 31 leave day.
For EU citizens hoping to stay in the UK after Brexit, the Government has supplied a tool for guidance.
They can visit the Government’s website at www.gov.uk/staying-uk-eu-citizen for advice.
EU nationals will need to go through a brief questionnaire so the government can accurately assess what people need to do.
There is a similar section for expats from the UK who want to continue living in an EU country.
The Government advises people hoping to live in an EU country would need to follow the rules of their chosen residence.
However, they have suggested people take the following steps:
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