Brexit: How to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme
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The EUSS opened in March 2019 and gives EU citizens and their families based in the UK the right to remain after Brexit. Despite the scheme being open for over two years, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) called for the Priti Patel and the Home Office to extend the deadline of June 30 2021.
Campaigners warned a failure to give EU citizens longer to apply risked those living in Britain becoming undocumented and liable to removal from the UK.
They said the EUSS risked turning into a national scandal with similar “devastating” consequences to those experienced by the Windrush generation.
Paul Bowen QC for the JCWI told the court: “On July 1, 2021 anyone who has yet to apply, or apply successfully, will be left without immigration status and exposed to the consequences of the hostile environment, at risk of losing their jobs, homes, access to benefits, and healthcare, driving licences, detention, criminalisation and removal – a second Windrush, but on a much bigger scale.”
The Windrush scandal broke in 2017 after it emerged some of those who had arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973 were being wrongly deported.
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Thousands of documents that proved those who had legally arrived to work in the UK during the time period were destroyed by the Home Office.
It meant some children of those who had travelled to Britain to take up jobs at the time were unable to prove they had the legal right to UK citizenship and were wrongly deported.
The scandal took its name from the HMT Empire Windrush ship which brought one of the first large groups of Caribbean people to the UK in 1948.
Yesterday the court rejected the demands for a judicial review from the EUSS campaigners, saying all application schemes required a deadline.
The Home Office had argued as well as nearly five million people having already been accepted for settled status, an informal grace period would be in place for those who do not make an application by the end of June.
Reacting to the High Court’s decision, Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the JCWI, said: “We are deeply disappointed at today’s decision.
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“The fact remains that in June, tens of thousands of EU citizens are at risk of falling through the gaps and being made undocumented.
“They will then be subject to the same hostile environment which has already ruined the lives of countless people, including the Windrush generation.
“Boris Johnson and Priti Patel promised that all EU citizens would get an automatic right to stay in the UK.
“Not only have they broken that promise, they have created a scheme which discriminates against older people, disabled people, looked-after children and many others.
“The Government must do the right thing and lift the June deadline.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “There have been 4.6 million grants of status under the EU Settlement Scheme already, securing people’s rights in UK law.
“The scheme is simple and straightforward, with a wide range of support available online, over the phone and in person for those who have questions or need help applying.
“We continue to work closely with employers, local authorities and charities to raise awareness of the scheme and we continue to encourage EU citizens to apply.”
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