Dear fellow EU citizen,
On Monday, I applied for Settled Status. It felt like a capitulation, because from now on, I won't have a right to be here, instead I will be allowed to be here.
Many people commented on my social post, sharing the same feelings. If you are on Facebook, have a look here. I'll quote one comment from a friend who does stand-up comedy in his spare time:
"Think of it as a vaccine to protect you from the Home Office."
Over the years, I met many people who declared they would never apply and I shared their concerns, but today, I am urging you to apply if you haven't yet, so you can remain safely in the UK after Brexit.
To be honest, it's not a choice because if I hadn't applied, I would have ended up living in the country I call home without a lawful immigration status, and I definitely don't want to face the hostile environment in the future.
Like everyone at the3million, I feel very strongly no EU citizen should face the hostile environment so it's very concerning that despite the 4.2 million EU Settlement Scheme applications the Home Office has received, it's estimated by some European consulates that up to 30% of their nationals have yet to apply.
A recent poll by the Social Market Foundation also found that 40% of EU workers in Fenland, one of the most deprived areas in the UK, didn’t know about Settled Status (link to poll)
While the process was simple for me, I don't have any of the characteristics of those who will struggle with the digital application system such as low English proficiency or lack of digital skills.
If you know people who could be in this situation, I would urge you to ask them whether they have applied and if they need help make the application themselves.
The charity Settled is designed to help EU citizens most at-risk of being left behind and they have an extensive help guide in 15 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Somali and 12 other European languages to give some guidelines:
They also provide support by email at email@example.com and over the phone:
For more complicated cases, for example when evidencing residence is difficult, or when a criminal record could be a barrier to a successful application, Here for Good is another charity who has linked with pro-bono lawyers to help people making their application. The best way to contact them is by phone.
Number and opening hours at https://www.hereforgoodlaw.org/contact
To help you with questions you may have, the3million has just published a new online Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page with a section dedicated to Settled Status applications (in English):
The end of the transition period is less than 40 days away, and the 30 June 2021 deadline is approaching faster than we think, so now is time to act, so no one is left behind and everyone can rely on a valid immigration status to continue to live normally.
Find out more about the3million: www.the3million.org.uk
Note to older EU citizens: if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, you already have a valid immigration status, but you could still apply for Settled Status or to the Windrush scheme. Pros and cons at https://www.the3million.org.uk/windrush