According to Euronews, EU citizens in the UK are expected to “beg, plead and bemoan their ignorance of post-Brexit visa changes”.
Before Brexit took effect on January 31, 2020, life for EU citizens in the UK was fairly straightforward.
But everything changed after that date.
It has been reported that many people who have lived in the UK for more than ten years and have been granted permanent citizenship do not have the right to live there.
They have not applied for an EU settlement scheme by June 30, 2021, the Home Office said.
Many EU citizens are unaware of this change.
Following protests by these people – and others representing them – the government said in January that they could now be allowed to stay in Britain.
Changes are not enough
“3 million” is an association set up in the UK to represent EU citizens experiencing difficulties following the 2016 Brexit referendum.
According to this organization, the face of the government is not good enough.
Following the government's changes, those who immigrated to the UK before Brexit and previously had permanent residency can now apply late European Union settlement plan – but only in certain circumstances.
how Andrea DumitrachayThe communications manager at “The3million” explained: “Opportunities are very limited and most latecomers are expected to face significant barriers to having their application considered.”
50 companies have asked the government to make changes in a letter coordinated by “The 3 Million”.
“We are disappointed that the Home Office has yet to accept that holding a permanent residence card for the European Economic Area is sufficient evidence of reasonable grounds for a late application.”Dumitrache told Euronews.
“People will be expected to plead, plead and show remorse for their ignorance. We fear that only those seeking legal advice will be able to get their application through.”He added her.
Massimo and Dee are an Italian couple living in Belfast since January 2023. They have suffered from the government's apparent lack of transparency since Brexit took effect.
They ran a small grocery store serving traditional Italian pizza and street food to the local community. Later both his business account and Massimo's checking account were blocked by his bank.
Restaurant owners told Euronews: “We only found out when we didn't get paid for a supplier. We contacted the bank, but they didn't tell us or advise us on how to resolve the issue.”
Dee explained that she was “Devastation, Shame and Anxiety” felt
Especially Massimo “For more than 20 years he felt abandoned by the country he lived in, for years he employed many people, paid his taxes and gave back to the local community. We didn't know where to turn, we received. Bad advice from various quarters.”
Before discovering the “3 million”, Dee and Massimo contacted the Home Office directly.
“There is no help on how to proceed. We have searched government websites but there is no clear guidance for people in Massimo's situation who already have a residence permit.”Dee says.
It was only after hiring an immigration attorney that they got clarity and an idea of what to do next.
Dee is still angry with the government:
“They should have specifically mentioned that permanent resident card holders (without an expiry date) should also apply. They should have contacted the card holders and advised them, as is done in other countries with similar permits, for example Denmark, the case.”
With great effort, Dee was able to re-establish her business account after removing her husband as managing director and changing the mandate details.
It took the bank a month to resolve the matter and now it's their business “ruin” And you “Unable to reopen”.
Andrea Dumitrache knows these kinds of stories:
“Only the weak suffer”He told Euronews, “Vulnerable EU citizens, people living in poverty, ethnic minorities, illiterate people, who have lived in this country for many years, can still be sent back if they do not meet all the additional criteria.”
He was concerned that those who were aware of the need to reapply could still lose their right to stay in the UK.
“Others have been asked by the Home Office to make a fresh application after being wrongly rejected previously, and feel there was no valid reason for the late application.”she said.
According to the 3 million, the Home Office appears to be operating on the assumption that people will experience a “trigger event” and apply at an already difficult time.
“People can live in the UK for years without a trigger event alerting them to the need to protect their status. This was made all the more clear by the Windrush scandal, with many affected only years after policy and law had changed. They were unable to prove their status.” Dumitrach explained.
According to the Home Ministry, the new policy is clear:
“Permanent residence documents issued under European Economic Area regulations confirm a person's status in the UK under EU free movement rules”, Home Ministry said. “It has long been known that such documents will lose their validity once the grace period ends on June 30, 2021.”
“More than two years have passed since the widely advertised application deadline for the program. Consistent with our obligations under the Civil Rights Treaty, we continue to accept and consider late applications from individuals who have reasonable grounds for delay in applying. To apply.”
However, Dumitrache rejects this claim.
“Politicians have promised that EU citizens will retain their rights after Brexit. This Government must take responsibility and change this culture of distrust in the Home Office. The most vulnerable are the victims and their lives cannot be destroyed.” , she said.
Under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Britain must guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the country legally before leaving the EU. In return, EU countries must do the same for British citizens living there.
The government has promised to accept late applications after the scheme closes in June 2021 “Justified Reasons” to give
However, in August last year, Rishi Sunak's lawmakers changed the rules so that a lack of knowledge about the EU settlement scheme is no longer considered a justification for not applying.
“The3million” has called on the government to take further action as Brexit does not comply with the spirit and substance of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The organization says the government has not done enough to deliver on its promise “Justified Reasons” and accuses EU citizens of ignoring safeguards previously put in place to fully access their rights.
While Dee and Massimo are on their way back – although there is no guarantee they will stay in the country after the way they were treated by the government and their bank – thousands of other EU citizens are stuck in the UK. Faces an uncertain future.
“I find it hard to see any benefits (of Brexit).”Dee told Euronews.
“We are always striving to source food locally and support the UK economy. Brexit has pushed up food prices so much that many family businesses have been forced to close their doors.”she said.
The future of many EU citizens in the UK remains uncertain.
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