EU expats in UK being refused residency

Published:  30 Dec at 6 PM
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The UK Home Office is under fire from frustrated EU citizens over its draconian refusals of permanent residency permits.

The permanent residency process appears to be in chaos as long-stay EU citizens and experts are being told they must leave the UK due to minor paperwork problems. As a result, a recently formed campaign group is now urging government ministers to undertake a reform of the overburdened system.

According to the Guardian newspaper, the 3 Million group was founded by Frenchman Nicolas Hatton in order to fight for the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK. One victim of the over-complex application process is Dutch national Monique Hawkins, resident in the UK for 24 years and now told by the Home Office to prepare to leave the country.

Hawkins was refused permanent residency after she submitted a certified copy of her passport as she needed the original to travel to the Netherlands after the death of her father. She is married to a Briton, has two British children and decided to apply for residency as she was worried about Brexit’s effects on her status. A German neuroscientist working in the UK has received the same Home Office notice to leave.

After the referendum result was announced, applications for permanent residency from EU citizens soared from over 37,000 in June 2015 to close on 100,000 a year later, causing huge backlogs and the development of a Home Office ‘refusal mindset’. Immigration lawyer Jan Doerfel told the media Hawkins’ case is typical of the Home Office’s attitude towards minor ambiguities in applications. Hawkins has now reapplied using a Dutch ID card, and is awaiting a decision.

German national Lars Graef, an aerospace executive resident in the UK since 1988, is unable to submit his passport as he travels weekly on business outside the UK. The average process time for permanent residence applications is six months. His comment that private sector employees behaving in this manner towards customers would face the sack neatly sums up the Home Office’s attitude towards EU citizens.
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