EU citizens in the UK: insecurity – and discrimination?

As of: 06/30/2021 4:14 AM.

Today is the last day for EU citizens to apply for a residence permit in the UK. Many employers are not yet able to deal with the new system. Applicants now fear that they will suffer loss.

from Christophe Prossel,
ARD-Studio London

Oliver Phillips has been living and working in England for years and holds a German passport. On December 26, 2020, he applied online for permanent residency in the UK. “On April 8, 2021 I received an email confirming that my application has been received. And finally on April 19, 2021 I received a reply confirming that I can stay in England, “They report.

Christophe Prosli
ARD-Studio London

In the intervening four months, Oliver Phillips, whose real name is different, was unable to inquire anywhere about residence permit status. Months in which it was not possible to prove to employers, banks or landlords, for example, that they were allowed to remain in the UK. Many applicants have experienced such delay in the complicated process.

5.6 million EU citizens have applied for the so-called EU settlement programme. Requirement: You must be able to prove that you lived in the UK before the end of 2020.

The System Annoys Many Employers

“Then we still have 400,000 EU citizens on hold. Some of them have been sitting there for months, more than a year and don’t know what is blocking their applications,” co-authors of the association said. -Reports founder Mike Bohn of “The 3 Million”, a group that campaigns for the rights of EU citizens in the post-Brexit UK. “And these people are also very, very worried about how things will look in practice from July 1st.”

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The British government first had to establish a procedure for Poles, Germans, French and other EU citizens. Because registration offices do not exist in Great Britain. The new system should only work digitally. Neither the clerk at the counter, nor the stamp in the passport, nor the paper proof. The proof – for example when re-entering the country – must be purely digital.

In practice, this creates major problems, Bohn reports: Many employers cannot cope with the new system. “Even if you hold a certificate like this, you can’t get a job. And there’s a lot of discrimination because there’s a lot of confusion about how this new digital system actually works. We think there’s a lot of these 400,000.” Uncertainty for people, but also discrimination.”

Worry about the next trip abroad

The British government assures: Anyone who submits an application digitally before 1 July can be sure that it will be processed. Over the past few days, thousands of people have signed up every day.

Bonn considers politics hostile to migration: “Because whatever any minister says, the whole system in Great Britain is designed to keep the border inward. Employers, universities, hospitals; check them all.” whether you are in the country legally or not.” Otherwise employers may face higher fines, for example

Phillips believes the mood in society has changed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies: “In the last five years you have become a lot more racist in England,” he says. Phillips is very happy to have received his residence permit. However, before the first foreign trip, he is a little apprehensive about it – who knows if the digital system for verification will work then.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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