New Europeans UK welcome a letter signed by more than 50 parliamentarians calling on the Prime Minister to take urgent action over next month’s EU Settlement Scheme deadline. It comes after New Europeans UK and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) presented our findings to an all-party parliamentary group meeting earlier in the year and warned of the difficulties faced by vulnerable groups in meeting the deadline. And last week New Europeans UK called for the deadline to be lifted on ITV news – warning that people’s housing, jobs, healthcare and pensions could be at risk.
In the joint letter MPs and peers warn Boris Johnson that significant numbers of EU citizens could lose their status and rights overnight. If even 1% of the millions of EU citizens resident in the UK are unable to apply in time, tens of thousands of people will become undocumented and left vulnerable to Hostile Environment policies, including detention and removal. MPs and peers are also concerned that the COVID19 pandemic has severely disrupted EUSS support services.
A report by New Europeans UK entitled ‘Digital Status, Handle with Care’, found the government’s digital only EU Settlement Scheme challenging for many EU citizens, particularly for the elderly and at risk groups. Read full report here.
Fundraising and Senior Advisor for New Europeans UK, Tamara Flanagan, said:
“Our experience suggests many EU citizens whose independence is reduced such as those with dementia, learning difficulties or living in long-term social care, and who have no access to IT support, will not have applied. They will be in a very difficult situation with no immigration status on 1st July. Sadly they will be unaware of their position until something happens to call their existence here into question.”
Research by JWCI warn that thousands of care workers, who have been at the frontline of the COVID19 pandemic, are also at risk of missing the deadline and becoming criminalised overnight. Read full report here.
And research from the Children’s Society found that only 39% of identified EU looked-after children and care leavers have submitted applications to the EUSS, and only 28% have secured their status. Read full report here.
New Europeans UK board member Michael Arapis was last week interviewed for an ITV Wales news report on the EUSS deadline. Read more and watch report here.
In the report Michael warned:
“This is merely a human rights issue – this is not a political issue. A lot of people will be affected in terms of housing, jobs, perhaps healthcare or pensions.
“They will be scared, they will be worried, they will be disappointed, especially because probably they will find out the consequences of this months or even years afterwards.”
Michael is also the Chair of New Europeans Wales and the Vice-Chair of the Greek Orthodox community of Wales.
Chair of New Europeans UK, Dr Ruvi Ziegler, who is also Associate Professor in International Refugee Law, concluded:
“As the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory notes, to apply for settled status, applicants need to a) know about the scheme, b) be able to navigate the application system, and c) be able to provide evidence of UK residence. Those at risk of failing to successfully apply include very long-term residents, children of EU citizens, those without good social networks, or those lacking formal evidence. We are staring at an unavoidable Windrush 2.0.”
In the letter to the Prime Minister, parliamentarians warn that the consequences of people losing their status could be far reaching and potentially life-ruining.
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