In an open letter from Home Secretary Amber Rudd to EU citizens in the UK about the agreement reached with the EU, she stressed that the agreement ensures the current rights of EU citizens and their families remain broadly the same, with access to healthcare, benefits and pensions protected. These rights will be cemented in UK law. The existing rights of Irish citizens, associated with the Common Travel Area arrangements, will also be protected.
Existing close family members of EU citizens living outside the UK will retain the right to join them in future.
Rudd said EU citizens in the UK do not need to do anything yet—more detail about the settled status scheme will be issued by the government in the new year, and it expects applications too open during the second half of 2018.