EU and UK groups are giving the British parliament an update on protecting citizens rights post-Brexit.
It comes after The London Economic revealed the Home Office told a German citizen she had the “perfect” citizenship application – but went on to reject it.
And earlier this month, TLE revealed the Home Office has been detaining EU citizens in immigration centres upon their UK arrival. This prompted an NHS doctor and his wife to tell TLE that they may leave the UK.
Rights of EU citizens in the UK
Speaking in front of the House of Lords European Affairs Committee today, Fiona Costello, University of Cambridge research associate, said: “It’s important not to let the big numbers overshadow those for whom the scheme has not worked.
“This includes those who are digitally excluded, who lack evidential paperwork, who may have found it difficult to prove their residency so far, may not have a passport or ID and may have been unable to get one and those who are simply unaware of the scheme.”
Costello has also referred to the anxiety that EU nationals have felt because of the detentions and letters wrongfully to those who have British citizenship. “Many felt they were becoming a migrant in the UK,” she said.
Monique Hawkins, policy and research officer at the3million group, said there is some lack of transparency over data sharing.
She added: “Because it’s a digital status, it’s possibly problematic. For a lot of people, there’s a big difference between having a piece of paper and having to use a digital status in your day to day life.
“I have seen a lot of cases where someone was able to see their status in the past and now they can’t, or their picture disappeared, and people are very anxious. Yesterday, the system was down for 24 hours, so it’s not there all the time, and people need it.
She added: “There has been a real problem to try to obtain passports or IDs at consulates. And you have to do a paper application if you don’t have a valid ID, and that is very complicated.
“Every time you use it, it is logged so there is also an issue with data sharing.”
Kate Smart, chief executive officer at Settled said: “There is so much more work to be done, we know there are so many more people who haven’t applied yet and there will be problems going down the line”.
Smart also asked the UK government to treat EU citizens as British people would like to be treated. She said recent events have added to “a great amount of upset among Europeans”.
“They already feel like their lives have been turned upside down,” she added.
Rights of British citizens in the EU
Jane Golding, co-chair of British in Europe, opened the meeting on Brits’ rights in the European Union.
She said procedures to help Brits are generally going well. “In France, the system seems to be working really well”.
Golding said that, unlike in the UK, Brits in the EU have a physical proof of status which has been approved by the European Commission in February 2020 – a biometric model card.
Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain said the group’s only concern is on communication. “Most communications are online, thankfully most are in English, but there are many vulnerable groups that don’t have online access,” she said.
The statements have been made as part of an inquiry into how the UK and the EU member states are supporting citizens rights.
As the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme deadline is on 30 June, similar schemes are set to close in a number of member states.