May's immigration offer will ease tensions among Lithuanians in UK

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Lithuanians singing the national anthem in London 2016
Foto: R.Tumo nuotr.

The proposal by UK Prime Minister Theresa May for European Union (EU) citizens present in the country should ease tensions among the Lithuanians living in great Britain, says Daiva Asanavičiūtė, the leader of the local Lithuanian community.

"Although it is still only an offer, the stance on citizens of EU countries should ease the unnecessary tensions among the immigrants," Asanaviciute told BNS on Friday.

In her words, the main slogan of the past year of emigration from Lithuania to Great Britain was "the strife to make it before the United Kingdom closes."

"Immediately after the referendum, the Lithuanians living in the United Kingdom were concerned about what happens after Brexit, what our rights will be and who will be able to stay or go, what the health care and social security benefits will be, what requirements for university students and applicants will be," said Asanaviciute.

Under the proposal made by May on Thursday, EU citizens living at least five years before the yet unannounced date will be given the "settled status", which will provide them with the same rights to health care, education, social care, pensions and other public services as British citizens.

Although the date has not yet been announced, it will not be before March 29 of 2017 and after March 30 of 2019, the official date of Britain's departure from the European Union.

The EU citizens coming to the United Kingdom before the date will also be allowed to stay.

According to data provided by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, about 200,000 Lithuanians currently live in Great Britain.

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