Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has joined calls to extend the deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications amidst concerns that EU citizens face a cliff-edge in the middle of a pandemic.
Home Office data released earlier this month shows an application backlog, risking the rights of some EU citizens resident in the UK.
In addition, some citizens have been unable to apply for settled status and need extra help with parts of the process such as document scanning. Citing one example, Ms. Hobhouse raised concerns in Parliament about a constituent who did not own a smartphone who needed to scan her passport. With scanning centres closed for the past 14 months, the constituent was left in the dark on how she could prove her status.
Luckily, the In Limbo Project has helped many EU citizens navigate the pitfalls of the EU Settlement Scheme. The not for profit project was launched to give a voice to EU citizens living in the UK and was praised by the Bath MP for its outstanding work.
Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will afford EU citizens legal status to carry on living in the UK now the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement has ended. There is widespread concern that those who do not apply before the cut-off date will have their lives turned upside down as they won’t be able to work, study, claim benefits, drive a car or open a bank account.
Raising the issue in Parliament last week, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said:
“EU citizens have been tightly woven into the fabric of our country for decades. I am deeply concerned about those whose status is still not yet confirmed. Many are at risk of discrimination.
“Over 320,000 EU citizens are facing the cruel anxiety of hoping the Home Office will grant their application before the cliff-edge of the end of this month – now with just over a week to go. The Government needs to extend the June 30th deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications, in line with other countries such as the Netherlands whose deadline is September 30th.
“Young people especially risk becoming a failed generation because of Brexit and we need to ensure that young EU citizens are able to access the same benefits as their UK peers. The Government cannot afford to get this wrong. The human cost is simply too much.”
Read more about the In Limbo Project here.
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