EMiS and its local groups are urging the UK government to extend the June 30 deadline for EU Nationals to apply for settled/pre-settled status and highlighting the problems the quarter of a million in Scotland may be experiencing.
We know that 5.4m had applied in the UK as a whole by March 31 this year but tens of thousands in Scotland may be missing out.
Email to MSPs from Richard Haviland of Highlands4EU:
I am writing to you, as one of my regional MSPs, to ask you to take action over the plight of EU nationals in the Highlands and Islands who have yet to submit their applications for settled status in the UK.
As things stand it seems inevitable that, unless the Westminster government extends its 30 June deadline, a great number of EU nationals who have, through no fault of their own, been unable to submit an application for and receive confirmation of their new immigration status, will automatically lose the right to live, work or rent accommodation in the UK. Many will be people who have lived here for years or even decades, working and paying taxes. Some will have British spouses and children. Some will be children.
Although I know there have been communications campaigns aimed at the millions of EU citizens living in the UK who have the right to remain here, it is clear that there are many who are still unaware of the need to apply for Settled Status or of the 30 June deadline. In particular, there are a number of vulnerable groups who are in real danger of falling through the cracks, including:
- Children in care
- Adopted children
- Elderly people living alone or in care, some of whom may have dementia or other conditions
- People with limited English-language and/or digital skills
- Long-term residents who believe that their Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence Status is sufficient
- Those married to UK nationals who assume that this guarantees their right to remain
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is an emergency. We have seen the tragedy that has afflicted so many of the Windrush generation, and we surely have a collective moral duty to ensure the same doesn’t happen again with EU nationals living in this country. It seems to me that by far the most desirable outcome would be for either the Scottish government (while recognising that immigration is a reserved power) or local councils to write to every household, including care homes, to ensure blanket coverage. But failing that we need reassurance that appropriate measures are being taken to target the groups I’ve mentioned above, and any others who might be equally at risk.
I’d therefore be grateful if you could:
- Write to the Scottish Government to urge them to do all they can to help avoid this potential calamity, ideally by communicating directly with every household in Scotland
- Let me know your own thoughts on this issue, and what action – if anything – you plan to take yourself
And from one to his MP:
From listening to the recent House of Lords debate, it seems to me that there are a number of things the Westminster government could potentially do, both with respect to the 30th June deadline and to giving greater security to those who have acquired settled status. These include:
- Providing physical evidence of settled status in the form of a card or certificate
- Extending the deadline, given time lost to COVID, to enable vulnerable groups to be reached and helped
- Continuing to fund helplines to cover the period in which late applications can be expected, and to support people transitioning from pre-settled to settled status
- Continuing to fund third sector organisations/NGOs to help vulnerable people at risk of falling through the cracks
- Passing secondary legislation which would grant people rights from the date of their settled status application rather than the date on which they are awarded it (to avoid extended periods when they might run up NHS bills or be refused mortgages, employment or rental agreements)
At the same time – if Westminster doesn’t change its position – it seems to me that it has a moral duty to write to every household, including care homes, in the country to ensure blanket coverage.
We at Fife4Europe are making a special effort to get every EU citizen in Fife to at least apply before the deadline, writes John Purvis.
If you know of anyone who might be in this situation please ask if they have applied. If you have contact with a care home ask if they have checked all their residents. It is quite possible that vulnerable people may not have known to apply or known how to. This even applies to infants in foster care. It could apply to spouses who have been married to Brits and have been living here for decades. It could be your neighbour.
The four Fife MPs, whom we had also approached about this, have organised a letter to the Prime Minister with some 50 Parliamentarians’ signatures asking for an extension of the deadline. Well done them. And Jenny Gilruth MSP (Glenrothes), Europe Minister.
I would not expect much sympathy from the government for anyone missing the deadline (Windrush?). So we only have 4 weeks to make sure every eligible EU citizen in Fife has put in their application. Do your best – please.
Meanwhile, fingerprinting at UK border: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/27/eu-tourists-condemn-uk-border-officials-humiliating-treatment and more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/may/21/uk-like-an-enemy-state-to-eu-nationals-detained-by-border-force
Here’s the EMUK petition to sign: https://www.europeanmovement.co.uk/detention
And read more about the plight of EU nationals at our borders here: https://ukandeu.ac.uk/which-eu-citizens-are-being-turned-away-at-britains-borders/?fbclid=IwAR1QkWLt0XAnlxUP8luyKv3fAHykcPHyqODcOLm1B0FNRLWY6sMzPiTRyFE
And a message from the 3million:
As EU Citizens living in the UK we have an important opportunity right now to influence real change in how our rights are being upheld.
The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) is asking us to share with them our experiences of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
As many of you will be aware, the IMA is responsible for protecting the rights afforded to EU and EEA-EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) citizens living in the UK by the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement.
The IMA has statutory powers and are conducting an investigation into whether to launch an inquiry into the scheme, having “identified a number of issues associated with the scheme via complaints received and wider intelligence including;
· the application process;
· length of time taken to process applications;
· correcting details after making applications;
· contacting the relevant departments or complaining about the process; and
· access to using the digital route.”
The IMA also want to hear “from anyone with knowledge and experience of the EUSS including support agencies or individuals who have provided assistance with applications.”
Have your say by completing the online survey by 18th June and ask everyone you know with experience of the scheme to do the same.
the3million has worked closely with the IMA since its inception. We submitted a detailed report to them back in February and we have since continued to contribute directly to the “wider intelligence” that has led it to highlight these issues and initiate this call for evidence.
We also remind you that you can apply to become a member of the IMA Citizens’ Panel – see https://ima-citizensrights.org.uk/about-the-ima/citizens-panel/ for more information.