EU partners or spouses of British citizens and their children are being kept apart by post-Brexit rules, it has been revealed.
The Home Office no longer recognises the EU family permit used by EU citizens to reunite with their British partners in the UK – and applications for the UK version of the permit are taking up to six months.
A British woman told The Guardian she had to separate her son, who is six years old, from his French father because her new UK job started this month – and her husband is awaiting a Home Office decision which should have taken 15 days, but two months later they are still waiting. The man had quit his job in France in order to move to London and is now unemployed.
‘My son misses his father’
“To be honest, it’s very hard on my son. We tried to make light of it, just saying we are going on vacation, but he misses his father. Now he’s saying: ‘I miss Papa – when can we see Papa, when can we see the dog?’” she told the newspaper.
A Home Office spokesperson told the newspaper: “Applications for EUSS family permits are considered in strict date-of-application order, and we continue to review staffing levels and deploy resource to areas of greatest need.
“Each case is considered as quickly as possible and on its individual merits, but processing times can vary depending on the volume and complexity of applications.
“The 15-day service standard does not apply to all entry clearance applications.”
The news come amid Brexit chaos this year which included families who lost travel money because of a flawed passport check service asking the government for refunds.
Children passports post-Brexit
Several families told The Independent earlier this summer that the system wrongly informed them their children would not be admitted to European Union countries because their passports were not valid anymore, even though they had many months left until they were due to expire.
The passport checker was set up in the light of Brexit, to tackle the fact that UK adults can no longer use passports older than 10 years.
But this does not apply to children, whose passports last five years and are within post-Brexit EU travel rules.
Despite this, the government’s online facility sparked chaos by telling parents otherwise. The Home Office has since taken the service down.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The passport checker is intended as a guide to help customers decide whether they need to renew their passport for travel to Europe.
“We are aware of an issue with the advice when checking some children’s passports, and so have taken the checker down while we investigate. You can continue to find information about the new rules on gov.uk.