EU citizens living in the UK have been warned that they could face ‘devastating consequences’ following Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
A group of MPs have warned that even if they are granted ‘settled status’, EU citizens are at risk of losing jobs and being able to secure housing.
Once the UK leaves the EU, it has been proposed that EU nationals are given a digital code to prove their status. However, the Commons Brexit committee has branded the idea confusing and dependent on the goodwill of employers and landlords. They have also warned that such a system could lead to future complications, similar to those seen earlier this year in the Windrush controversy.
“The experience of the Windrush generation shows that, where errors occur, it can lead to devastating consequences for individuals and their families,” the committee says.
“We are also concerned about the potential for fraud and the incentive for individuals to be exploited if they cannot persuade an employer or landlord of their status.”
EU citizens have been given until June 2021 to apply for ‘settled status’. The Home Office has set the cost of applying for this status at £65 for adults and £32.50 for a child under 16, arguing that is “less than the price of a passport”.
However, as yet, no details have emerged regarding what will happen to EU citizens who fail to apply for ‘settled status’ by this date.
“These are people who have made their lives in the EU in good faith, or came to live and work in the UK, paying taxes, raising families and putting down roots,” said Hilary Benn, the committee’s chairman. “As things stand, both groups [EU citizens and UK citizens living in the EU] are likely to lose some of the rights they had previously. That’s not fair and it’s why we want to see further progress quickly.”
The Commons Brexit committee has also called on the governments of the 27 remaining EU states to set out how the 1 million British expats living in the European Union can guarantee their status.
Article published 26th July 2018