Fears for EU citizens missing the deadline set for the UK Brexit news


European Union citizens living in the UK have a few hours left to apply for post-Brexit settlement status or to lose their rights.

The so-called UK settlement scheme for EU citizens and the European Economic Area (EEA), which opened in early 2019, closes at midnight on Wednesday.

As of Thursday, EU citizens who have not applied for it could end up formally losing the legal right to work, rent a home and access some hospital treatments or healthcare benefits in the UK.

They could even be deported.

In comparison, those granted with established status will enjoy indefinite leave to remain in the UK and retain the same rights of residence, travel, work and healthcare as they had before Brexit, which put an end to reciprocal freedom of movement between the UK and the EU.

Activists are concerned that up to thousands of EU citizens may not show up on time and run the risk of losing access to public services.

In particular, there is concern that some older people living in the UK for decades may not be aware that they have to apply.

NGOs also say that many migrant parents do not realize that they have to submit applications for their children as well as for themselves.

Meanwhile, vulnerable people, such as people in social care or homeless immigrants from the EU, are also at risk of falling through the cracks and ending up without legal status.

Fears of another Windrush scandal

These fears evoke memories of the recent Windrush scandal, which saw people from the Caribbean and their descendants, who legally settled in the UK decades ago, erroneously trapped by strict government rules to crack down on undocumented immigration.

Some members of the Windrush generation, named after the ship carrying the first post-war migrants from the West Indies, were deported because they could not produce documentation proving their rights of residence.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, warned that many Europeans, especially young people whose parents did not apply for the status established on their behalf, “will not necessarily realize who have lost their condition immediately. “

“For some, it will only become clear later, for example, when they get a new job or need to be treated in the hospital,” he told The Associated Press. “It may be many years before the legal, political, economic and social consequences begin to emerge.”

Elena Remigi, an Italian translator who founded “In Limbo”, a project to record the voices of EU citizens in the UK since the 2016 referendum, said there was already widespread widespread betrayal among European migrants over Brexit.

“It’s really sad that people who lived here before now feel unwanted and have to leave,” he told the AP. “It’s very hard to forgive for some people.”

Millions of applications

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 5.6 million applications for established status have been made, 5.2 million of which have already been completed.

Of these applicants, more than 2.7 million people were granted settlement status, while 2.2 million were granted pre-settlement status, which it means that they have to reapply after living in the country for five years, the minimum period required to be eligible for settlement status.

About 94,000 applications (two percent) were rejected, while 72,100 were withdrawn or declared null and void.

About 75,000 were invalid, meaning the Home Office decided they could not apply or had not provided sufficient evidence to support their submission.

About 400,000 cases are still pending and require processing.

The government has said it will issue an “application certificate” for those awaiting a decision, which will serve as proof that they can retain their rights.

Officials said those missing Wednesday’s deadline will not see their rights withdrawn immediately as they are protected by law.

Instead, they will be given an “indefinite” period of time to complete an established status application, as long as they have reasonable grounds to be late.

Among those disturbed by the UK bloc’s exit to the bloc was Marlies Haselton, a 55-year-old Dutch citizen who has been calling the British country for more than 30 years.

She said she now felt insecure despite being granted liquidation status.

“I am just worried about the future. I just don’t feel like I’m aging here as a foreigner. The sense of home I used to have is gone, ”Haselton told the AP.

Haselton said she and her British husband had considered moving to the Netherlands with their three children because of Brexit.

“I still love this country, it would break my heart if I had to move,” he said. “At the same time, I’m not sure I want to stay. When it comes to feeling like you belong, that can’t be done with a piece of paper. “

Source link