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Home Office “shed light” on EU citizens – or not…

Last month the Home Office came to the European Parliament to brief MEPs on how EU citizens will be dealt with after Brexit.

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Considering the issues surrounding the Windrush generation, concerns for EU citizens and how they will be handled by the Home Office have heightened.

While we have heard the new app for EU citizens used to register people for settled status is relatively simple to use, we were alarmed to hear it couldn’t be used with iPhones.

When I enquired further about this an EU official advised me applicants might have to ‘borrow someone else’s’ – it really is beyond belief.

This also comes amid concerns about the costs, with each application costing £72 and the fact families cannot apply for settled status jointly could mean a huge bill for some families, regardless of their ability to pay.

This comes after our EU Citizens’ taskforce of MEPs wrote to Michel Barnier asking him to clarify some points for us from the EU side.

Of particular note in his reply are:

· Ring-fencing: This is of critical concern and something both the Liberal Democrats and our group of pro-European MEPs have really been pushing for – we believe citizens shouldn’t be used as political bargain chips and should have had their rights settled in a separate deal. But Barnier remains firm, quoting from April Council Guidelines: “..that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items can be settled separately”.

· Right to be joined by future spouses: “This is the last issue on which the aim set in the European Commission’s Communication and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement has not been reached . Compromise was necessary in light of UK red lines.”

· System for registration “After long discussions with the UK Home Office we have no reason to think that the new system will be burdensome. On the contrary, it will be much simpler than the current 85-pages form.

· Comprehensive Sickness Insurance: “Due to concerns relating to administrative burden in view of the large number of EU citizens living in the UK who will register, the UK has unilaterally stated it intends to waive this EU law requirement as well as the “genuine work” test.”

 

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