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Brits resident in the EU post Brexit to be given extra free movement rights

LONDON — British citizens living in the EU will be granted extra rights to work and settle in a different country within the bloc on top of those set out in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, according to campaigners briefed on the plans.

During a meeting of the EU-U.K. Joint Specialised Committee on citizens’ rights on Thursday, European Commission officials confirmed British citizens who moved to the EU before the end of 2020, when the Brexit transition comes to an end, will be able to take up a job and settle in a different EU country to the one they are resident in. However, that right to onward movement comes with limitations including the need to prove five years of continuous residence in the bloc, participants in the meeting said.

This had been a long-standing demand from Brits living in the bloc who say the EU’s offer as laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement actually represents a diminution of the free movement rights they currently enjoy. They are worried their career prospects in the bloc would be harmed if they lose most of the mobility rights they will enjoy until the end of the Brexit transition on December 31.

“We received good news on combining our Withdrawal Agreement status with other EU immigration statuses, which should provide some U.K. citizens in the EU with some further mobility rights,” said Fiona Godfrey, co-chair of the British in Europe campaign. “We now need clarity on how those rights will be evidenced.”

At the meeting, the Commission also confirmed that 25 of 27 EU countries will differentiate between those who have spent five or more years in the bloc and those who haven’t by using the biometric residence cards issued for British nationals.

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