EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five years could be given a special immigration status, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.
The new “settled EU status” would grant them the same rights as British citizens when it came to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.
May put the plans to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.
The proposals, said May, would only be adopted if Britons living in the EU were given similar assurances.
It’s part of moves to settle the rights of EU citizens in Britain – and Britons living elsewhere in the bloc – early in the Brexit negotiations, which began on Monday.
A campaign group for EU citizens in the UK, the3million, has criticised the announcement.
It says there is no mention of the right to residency or work.
Nicolas Hatton, co-chairman of the group, said: “There is something slightly pathetic about the prime minister’s proposal which makes no reference to the detailed, comprehensive offer tabled by the EU. The prime minister described her proposal as fair and serious. It’s neither fair nor serious.”