Advocates for EU citizens living in the UK and Britons living on the continent are calling for action now to secure their post-Brexit residency status before application deadlines expire at the end of June.
Under the terms of the Brexit divorce deal, EU citizens already living in the UK and Britons living on the continent at the end of 2020 can still enjoy guaranteed rights, with the right to apply for permanent residence after five years.
The group representing EU citizens in the UK, 3 million . group, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say it was the last month to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Otherwise, from July 1, citizens will lose the basic rights they had until now, such as the right to work, rent a home or receive some hospital treatment. “Fill out the application and tell others,” they warn.
Activists also remember that things will get more complicated for those requesting status from July 1 and also for those who have requested papers but have yet to receive a response and provide useful resources for those who find themselves in that situation. .
Brits in Europe, a campaign coalition for British citizens living in the European Union, also took to Twitter to remind those living in four countries – France, Luxembourg, Latvia and Malta – that they have until June 30. to come forward, or they will “face ‘waking up as illegal immigrants'” the next day.
The Netherlands has extended the deadline to October 1, while more than a dozen countries in the European Union have in place systems that automatically grant residency status to legally resident Britons.
As of March 31 this year, 5.2 million applications have been submitted to the UK’s Settlement Scheme for EU citizens, according to The UK in a Changing Europe think tank. The group claims the figures show that the EU’s movement towards the UK is “much larger” than previously thought, adding that “we don’t know how many EU citizens have to apply…before the date of the determination”.
the group 3 million It points out that from July, EU citizens in the UK will have digital-only proof of ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status. The group argued that the lack of paper documents leaves many people vulnerable, and that there are many complaints about how the system works in practice.
The British government said late applications will be considered when there are “good reasons” to be behind the deadline, and in April it issued guidance on what those reasons are.
However, “It was emphasized that those who did not meet the deadline would, overnight, become unauthorized/illegal immigrants, subject to the hostile environment and possible expulsion,” concluded Professor Charlotte O’Brien, of the EU and Brexit Rights Support Group. European Union. center.
For Britons living on the mainland, a joint EU-UK report on the enforcement of residence rights published in April revealed that less than half of British nationals living in France and Malta have applied and have received a decision on your applications.
Nearly one in five people living in countries whose deadlines expire on June 30 have not even requested it, a figure that Britons in Europe have described as “scandalous and should be a wake-up call” to member states.
It criticizes EU countries for failing to fulfill promises in the divorce agreement on Brexit to provide adequate information and raise awareness among British residents, and calls on the EU and the UK to recognize their responsibilities towards them.
Professor Michaela Benson of Lancaster University said: “As far as the implementation is successful, there will be a proportion of people who fall into loopholes and become undocumented in the process, with serious repercussions for their lives that may begin to emerge later on.” , who specializes in citizens’ rights after Brexit, after testifying before a House of Lords committee last week.