Official figures show around 790 people living in the Wealden area have not been granted ‘Settled Status’ to remain here.
The EU Settlement Scheme enables citizens of European Union countries, others from the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss citizens, and their family members, to obtain a UK immigration status.
The simple digital system which allows EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK to obtain, free of charge, Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status in the UK. (Residents who do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when they apply usually get Pre-Settled Status.)
The Liberal Democrats are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK.
Wealden Liberal Democrat campaigner for Sussex and Europe activist Elizabeth Drury said:
Too many EU nationals in Wealden are deeply anxious about their right to stay. With the
uncertainty of Brexit, it’s disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this, and it’s even worse in
some of our neighbouring areas.
Families and children must not be made to live under a cloud of uncertainty any longer. The
Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for EU citizens – and the UK’s institutions that rely on
workers from the EU, like the NHS and social care – by fighting to guarantee their rights to live
and work in the UK.
Earlier this month the European Commission launched legal proceedings against Britain for a “failure to comply” with rules on the free movement of people.
The UK has four months to respond to the claims of “shortcomings”.
During the transition period, which is due to end on 31st December 2020, EU law on free movement applies to the UK.
As of 31 March 2020, over 3.4 million applications had been received from people wanting UK immigration status (91% applications have been concluded) (Quarterly Statistics March 2020).
In Wealden, 2,310 people have applied for permanent residency. Of those 2,170 applications that have been concluded (93%), with 1,510 people having been granted Settled Status (70%).
|Granted Settled Status (Yellow)||1,510|
|Pre-Settled Status (Green)||650|
|0ther Outcomes (refusals, withdrawn or void, or invalid cases) (White)||10|
140 EU and EEA nationals in Wealden have applied to the scheme but are still waiting for a decision. Another 650 have been given ‘Pre-Settled Status’, meaning they will have to reapply once they have got 5 years’ continuous residence. (The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.)
The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for their campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain and not just the one year visa extension offered to certain health and care staff by the Home Office.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to keep us safe.
The government has a chance to show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The highest numbers of applications received in Wealden were from Romanian (18%), Polish (15%), Italian (8%) and German (8%) nationals.