EU nationals living in the UK for five years will have to apply to join a 'settled status' register if they wish to remain in the UK following Brexit.
The news comes as Theresa May gave more detail for her plans to guarantee the rights of EU nationals following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Under the plans – which will affect around three million people – those granted settled status will be able to live, work, study and claim benefits in the same way they currently can. However, those who have already applied for permanent resident status since the referendum, will need to reapply.
Those EU nationals resident in the UK for less than five years will be able to continue living and working in the UK. A cut-off date has not yet been announced.
May said: '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.'
However, any EU national arriving in the UK after the cut-off date will be subject to new immigration rules. These have not yet been announced.
While the proposals have been criticised by Labour, the SNP, and by the European Council president Donald Tusk, as being 'ungenerous' and 'below expectations', they have been welcomed by hospitality trade bodies.
The ALMR said it was a 'clear and unambiguous signal' that 'the package provides the stability and access to labour for which Britain’s eating and drinking out sector has been calling'.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'Our reliance on non-UK labour to augment the thousands of jobs already filled by Britons is key to the ability to operate and to grow a sector that adds £32bn in GVA each year and has created one in seven of new jobs.
'Among the new detail, we welcome in particular, the assurances that registration for migrant employees will be streamlined, reducing the administrative burden for employers and simplifying the process for workers.
'The prime minister’s assurances that provisions will be made to help EU workers’ families live with them in the UK will mean that nobody will have to choose between their job and their family.'
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: 'I welcome that the Government has now set out proposals that make clear that staff in our industry can remain in the UK after Brexit. I hope that an agreement can now be reached quickly on this vital issue, given the large number of EU citizens working in the hospitality industry. For all our members, they are essential and highly valued colleagues who deserve certainly over their future in the UK.'