Serious questions have been raised today after the Home Office rolled out an “important and unprecedented” settlement scheme under the guise of a cheery video.
The video, which features up-beat music and pictures of smiling people, details the application process for EU citizens who want to continue living in the country after 31 December 2020.
Checks on their identity, UK residence status and criminal record will take place on all EU citizens living in the UK and will cost applicants £65 for an adult and £32.50 for children under 16.
MP Pete Wishart joined a number of politicians in airing his “overwhelming disgust” at the Home Office plans.
Former MP Angus Robertson called the roll-out “shameful”, “disgraceful” and “demeaning”, saying he hopes EU national friends and neighbours know they are welcome regardless of “this appalling UK Govt ‘scheme'”.
Replying to Robertson, Judith Houston wrote: “I have lived, worked, employed people and thereby created jobs for 21 years … and now I have to go through an application process plus pay £65 for the ‘privilege’ of staying … this is degrading and inhuman … thus [sic] is far from … ‘those who are already here can stay’.”
EU citizens and their families will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020.
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) December 27, 2018
Several questions have also been raised over how the scheme will work in practice, such as how the scheme is compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enshrined in UK law via the Human Rights Act protecting right to family life, and why EU citizens should have to pay a fee for confirmation of existing rights legally and properly exercised.
EU citizens in the UK were promised their lives would continue “as before” by politicians, particularly those in the Leave camp, who said “EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present”.