A lack of clear guidance about their post-Brexit legal status is increasing uncertainty amongst UK citizens living in EU Member States, according to an academic from Goldsmiths, University of London.
A new report, co-authored by Reader in Sociology Dr Michaela Benson, sets out a number of recommendations to ensure Britons living in EU27 countries know what to do in order legally to maintain their residence in the places they call home.
Implementing a Brexit Deal for UK Citizens Living in the EU27, published on 19 April, draws on interviews with Member State officials to explore what planning is already underway.
It also utilises interviews with British residents of the EU27, many of whom have received limited or conflicting advice from authorities.
The report recommends that, in order to keep bureaucratic overload and fraud to a minimum, Member States should impose prospective rather than retrospective requirements.
For example, if UK nationals applying for permanent residence are asked to document their legal residence in a Member State, they should be permitted to show this is the case at present, rather than had been the case previously.
Countries should also consider a flexible approach to how applicants are asked to document their residence by allowing people to self-report, with spot checks on some applications to reduce incentives to cheat the system.
Other advice includes allowing online applications for residence, and providing immediate proof of application for citizens to share with employers and landlords.
The report also suggests that UK nationals who have already applied for status should be incentivised to recruit friends to do the same, and that Member States could use Brexit as an opportunity to encourage their British nationals to improve their host-country language proficiency.