Clear protected freedom of movement for "settled status" for life
This petition had 128 supporters
The UK still needs and/or benefits from foreign workers, specialised and non-specialised staff. To keep those already trained, who already live there is essential.
1. It is fair that those with "settled status" have protected equal treatment with domestic nationals in terms of access to employment (for example no discrimination when applying for a job in the NHS), working conditions and all other social and tax benefits ( so they would maintain all "freedom of movement") as these were the conditions when they were needed in the UK (or when UK nationals were needed in the EU) and when they made the decision to stay there.
This will allow them to keep their jobs if they ever need to re-apply, and progress in their careers without discrimination. Many of them will have progressed in a way that makes it difficult to return to their countries (due to the differences). They will be prepared to keep contributing to society. They have gained experience over the years. It would be a waste to make changes for these people or make things difficult which might make them leave. Most people came to the UK when the UK needed them the most e.g. about 15 years ago, when companies in the UK such as Boots, Rowlands, and the NHS went to their countries to recruit. They do not deserve to have their rights diminished now.
2. In the same way, freedom of movement should also mean that not because they spend 2 years away (e.g. in their country of birth) they lose it. This would be cruel, unnecessarily restrictive, life changing and stressful for these individuals who will be threatened to lose their rights if they ever want to go back to their country for a while, for whichever circumstances. It should not matter how long that period of time is. They were born there and their families and friends are probably still there, they might be sick and need their help. They might decide to move to their country with their UK partner for a while and then come back. Settled status should be for life, they have earned the right to remain after contributing to society for several years.
A UK national would be able to go away and come back to work in the UK no matter how long he has been away and "settled status residents" need to have the same right.
When EU nationals decided to settle in the UK they did not know that at some point their freedom was going to be restricted and they were welcomed, encouraged to settle in the UK and work there. People could have lived in the UK for 15 years after being recruited only because they were given the chance when the NHS went to EU countries to do so, and in the future, they might need / want to be away for more than 2 years before coming back without being punished for that.
3. "Settled status" is not the same as "citizenship". Applying for citizenship should not be given as an option if the "settled status" residents want the above.
Applying for citizenship includes excessive fees, an english test -people who have lived and worked for several years in the UK (or UK nationals in other countries) have demonstrated that they are fine to live there with their english level, and a "life in the UK" test that includes mostly irrelevant questions. Time would be wasted trying to learn useless facts such as who the patron saint of England, Wales, Scotland etc are, when April fools day is, how to make Christmas pudding, etc
In fact it would even be fair that "Settled status" residents are given citizenship status e.g. if they have lived and worked in the country for at least 5-10 years.
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