Hundreds of thousands of EU citizens in UK risk uncertain status from July 1 | Immigration and asylum
Academics are sounding the alarm about the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens in the UK who risk falling into a legal limbo on July 1 with their right to rent a house, work or continue to live in their retirement in danger.
With just 13 days before the government deadline for EU and EEA nationals and their children to apply for settlement or pre-settlement status, a report from the UK in a Europe in mutation warns of the dangers ahead for those who do not ask before June 30.
The academic group fears that some who have applied but are still awaiting a decision from the Home Office – including children and pensioners – could face difficulties if they cannot prove their status when trying to access the NHS or travel.
The latest official statistics show that 320,000 people are still awaiting a decision on their status – status established for those who have been in the country for more than five years and pre-established for those who have been in the country for less than five years.
The UK in a report on developments in Europe, titled Brexit and Beyond, warned: “If applicants cannot demonstrate that they have a ‘right to reside’ they will immediately lose their rights, even if their request is valid.
âThis is likely to have a more serious impact on vulnerable applicants with complicated cases. Given the processing times for requests, this difference in treatment could become quite significant. “
The government has pledged that those on the waiting list will not have to worry and that a “pragmatic and flexible approach” will be adopted for late applications.
However, Catherine Barnard, deputy director of UK in a Changing Europe and professor of European law at the University of Cambridge, said people should be aware of the legal importance of having a status, despite government assurances.
âTo apply for establishment or pre-establishment status, you just need to be resident in the country before December 31. But in order to be protected after June 30, if you haven’t been granted the status, you need to exercise EU treaty rights, which means you need to be a worker, self-employed person, student, or student. independent person, “she said.
This means that children, pensioners or spouses of an EU citizen from a non-EU country who applied for but did not get the status could be in difficulty, he said. she declared.
The other at-risk cohort are those who didn’t know they had to apply for citizenship, which could include older people who have been in the country for decades and don’t think the program applies to them, said Barnard.
UK in a changing Europe analysis showed that only 2% of the 5.4 million status claims fall into the over 65 category.
Other vulnerable categories highlighted by 45 charities last week included victims of violence, the homeless, children and adults in care.
Barnard said: âAt one level, the EU’s establishment status is a huge success in terms of providing a fast and efficient system, which has reached a large number of people. But it is about to enter a phase that will require sensitive management where the government will have to show pragmatism and flexibility in handling difficult cases. “
From July 1, owners and employers will also be subject to fines if they hire or employ people without status or who have applied for status, with representatives for properties rented last year warning some owners would simply opt out. for the easy option and would rent to British and Irish people who have automatic rights.
Under the legislation which is about to be updated, landlords will be required to carry out follow-up checks on tenants with pre-established status and may be fined up to Â£ 3,000 for having violates the law, while employers can be fined up to Â£ 15,000, with discounts for reporting people to the Home Office earlier.
Future Borders and Immigration Minister Kevin Foster urged those who did not ask to do so by June 30, promising that rights would be protected for those late.
“We have already confirmed that someone who filed an EU claim before the June 30 deadline, but has not yet made a decision, will have their rights protected until their claim. be decided, âhe said.