An EU flag flies above Parliament Square during a Unite for Europe march, in London, March 25, 2017.
An EU flag flies above Parliament Square during a Unite for Europe march, in London, March 25, 2017.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told European Union citizens who are already living legally in Britain that she wanted them to stay after the country leaves the EU in 2019.

Setting out Britain's plans for immigrants from EU countries, she said that all those legally in Britain before a cut-off date to be decided in future negotiations would be allowed to stay and apply for permanent residence rights.

"I want to completely reassure people that under these plans, no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU. We want you to stay," she told parliament.

But EU citizens would face similar restrictions as British nationals if they wanted foreign relatives to join them in Britain after it leaves the EU unless separate rules are negotiated, she added.

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood has more from London.

Last week EU leaders dismissed Prime Minister May's guarantees for the three million EU citizens who currently live in the UK.

EU President Donald Tusk said May's offers were below expectation and risked making the situation for EU citizens in the UK worse.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker meanwhile said May's promises were "first step but this step is not sufficient."

May had previously refused to guarantee the rights of Europeans until the futures of one million British expatriates living in the rest of the EU were also secured.

Source: TRT World