‘UK for 68’ is trending on Twitter as Britain reacts to the news that a 95-year-old Italian man is being asked to prove his residency – despite living in the UK for 68 years.
Antonio Finelli came to the country in 1952 when he answered an appeal for immigrant labour as part of the reconstruction effort after the Second World War ended.
He has been receiving a state pension for the past 32 years, but has been forced to supply 80 pages of bank statements to prove his right to stay in the UK regardless.
“It is wrong”
Speaking to The Guardian, he said “it is wrong” as he waited for volunteers’ help at an advice centre in Islington, north London.
His wife and only son have died and he is also worried about his grandchildren. “Will they be OK?” he asked the volunteer.
“It was a surprise because I have had the aliens’ certificate,” he said referring to the document given to immigrants who came to the country between 1918 and 1957.
“I’ve been receiving the pension and working all my life so I don’t understand why I have to provide these bank statements,” he said.
this is the Brexit that I didn't vote forhttps://t.co/0bFvaJsn5v— end of daves ❄️ ? (@davemacladd) February 17, 2020
Stress and anxiety
Finelli’s case highlights concerns over stress and anxiety being caused to elderly and vulnerable people, many of whom do not understand why they are being asked for paperwork at this stage of their lives.
Dimitri Scarlato, a volunteer at Inca CGIL, an advice centre for Italian citizens, said he has had one woman in the centre who was so stressed out about having to find paperwork she “thought she was going to have a heart attack”.
“What I find unacceptable is that Mr Finelli has been living here for 70 years. He has been here all his life. He worked for 40 years and [after] 32 years received his pension. He is a good fellow, a good citizen and came before freedom of movement, [but] still has the burden of providing proof of residence.
“He has been here all these years but the system treats him as if he doesn’t exist. Why?” said Scarlato.