UK settled status scheme for EU expats not fit for the purpose

Published:  30 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, England
A tearful Portuguese long-term expat resident in the UK interrupted a Sky News live broadcast, saying she surely couldn’t be kicked out of the UK after 20 years.

The woman’s heartbroken plea came as fears of another Windrush scandal broke after the government’s announcement that free movement would cease on November 1. She criticised the way the settlement scheme is being managed, saying she’d been told her ‘national insurance didn’t correspond’ so she needed to apply again, and told listeners she was angry and terribly hurt about what’s happening to her adopted country, She added she’d worked hard for all her years in the UK looking after elderly Britons and other peoples’ children.

According to a spokesman for the 3Million EU expats’ group Axel Antoni, the group has been warning about issues with the settlement scheme since it was announced, especially as regards EU expats’ ability to prove their identity. When the scheme was originally announced, the group sent 150 questions to the relevant authority but received no reply, with the present chaos and confusion exactly what they expected. Antoni pointed out that the referendum campaign promised EU expats in the UK would keep their rights according to British law, with Johnson’s maiden speech reiterating the promise.

Of the estimated 3.6 million EU citizens living and working in the UK, only about one million have applied for settled status. Critics of the scheme quote complications with the process itself as well as difficulties accessing the necessary online application form via an iPhone. According to the Guardian, a considerable number of EU citizens have contacted the newspaper and requested advice and clarification of their status in the event of a no-deal exit. One Conservative MP has reported cases in which his constituents have been denied settled status even after having lived, worked and paid taxes in the UK for many years.
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