Monday, 27 April 2020
Campaign response - Right to Stay
Thank you for constituents who have recently contacted me concerning the EU Settled Status Scheme and the Scheme's ability to operate in light of the impact of COVID-19.
The EU Settlement Scheme has been open since 30 March 2019. More than 3 million have already been granted status and EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members still have 15 months before the deadline of 30 June 2021 to apply.
Applicants only need to complete 3 steps – prove their identity (via passport and other ID documents), show that they live in the UK (which can also be done via HMRC, DWP and other government records), and declare any criminal convictions they may have.
Contrary to what this email campaign suggests, the Scheme has not been suspended by the Home Office. In line with the latest Public Health England advice, some of the support services and application routes have temporarily changed.
However, individuals can continue to apply using any laptop or mobile device and they can still use the “EU Exit ID Document check app” to complete the identity stage of their application.
While applications continue to be processed, during this challenging time they will take longer than usual. A range of support continues to be available online, by email and telephone for those who have questions or need help applying: https://www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme
The Home Office is keeping this situation under constant review and will endeavour to reinstate support services and application routes to their original capacity in line with public health guidance.
Having engaged with the policy idea on a number of occasions in recent months, I do not support the idea of declaratory system where EU citizens won’t have to register and could potentially bypass all of the checks that will be in place under our immigration system.
I understand the declaratory system is now being branded as the "Right to Stay". To be clear, EU Citizens already have the right to stay and remain in the UK and the Settled Status Scheme to enshrine and protect EU Citizens' right to stay in the UK going forward, with latest statistics showing that the vast majority of applicants have secured status without any trouble.
Since Windrush, the Home Office have been extra cautious in preventing a repeat of the scandal.
Giving people a digitalised status, and ensuring that they have a trackable record of their application and status by asking them to apply, is the way forward to prevent a future Windrush scandal.
The Government also needs to be able to distinguish between those who have come here before/after Brexit, and this system allows for that distinction to be easily made.
By all accounts the Government is achieving great success with this policy and EU citizens and community groups have welcomed this scheme and more engaged approach from the Home Office.
All EU citizens living in Cornwall and the UK are valued members of our community and I have always been clear in communicating my message of support and welcome to them - I want them to stay after the implementation period and continue to live, work and contribute to society. If any EU citizens are experiencing particular difficulty with securing their status to remain in the UK after Brexit, please do by all means get in touch with me on email@example.com. My team and I would only be too happy to assist them.