EU nationals would be free to visit Britain, but working, studying or settling there would require them to apply for permission, a British official said on condition of anonymity because the plans are still being worked on.
The UK government said Wednesday that there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, which would help deal with the thorny issue of policing the border on the island.
EU citizens are currently free to live and work in the UK without a permit. The Office for National Statistics reported on Wednesday that there were a record 2.37 million EU workers in Britain between April and June this year, up 126,000 from the same period in 2016.
May’s government is seeking to deliver on its commitment to reduce immigration, concern over which led the majority of Britons to vote in favor of Brexit in last year’s EU referendum.
London is keen to start negotiating about its post-Brexit relationship with the EU, but Brussels has insisted that progress must be made on exit arrangements first.
Opening rounds of Brexit talks with the EU have made little progress, with European negotiators demanding greater clarity from the UK delegation.
The next round of talks is due at the end of August. Brexit talks formally began in June, a year after Britain's historic referendum vote to leave the 28-member European bloc.
The UK Department for Exiting the EU said in a statement on Tuesday that London is seeking an interim trade relationship with the Brussels in order to secure the "freest and most frictionless possible trade" with the EU after Brexit.
Britain’s membership in the EU customs union, which currently allows for the tariff-free movement of goods, will end along with its membership of the single market when it exits the bloc in March 2019.