Dear fellow EU citizen,
I have one good piece of news if you live in England: this week, we found out EU citizens in England would retain their voting rights in 2021 for the local and mayoral elections. We welcome this news gladly, knowing that EU citizens will also be able to stand in these elections. Having said that, there is no guarantee this will extend beyond 2021 and our local voting rights remain a worry.
The Celtic nations (Scotland and Wales) have already shown the way by permanently granting voting rights to all residents (thus including EU citizens) through legislation. the3million keep fighting to have similar protection for those of us living in England and Northern Ireland.
On Wednesday, we also saw Priti Patel getting very confused about Settled Status and EU citizens. She was being interviewed by the Home Affairs Select Committee, whose mission is to scrutinise her work as the Home Secretary.
When asked about the Settled Status scheme, she said 3.4 million EU citizens had been granted citizenship. See the video below:
The truth is 3.4 million applications have resulted in either pre-settled or settled status. We don’t know how many people that represents, because anyone applying first for pre-settled status and later for settled status is double-counted.
And of course, the mistake of saying all these people were granted British citizenship would be funny if it were not so tragic. Especially in the light of citizenship applications which may now be at risk for not having had private health insurance in the past. See our campaign #ByeByeCSI on this matter
Talking of the Home Office, many people expressed anger on social media when they published on Monday the new immigration rules starting in January 2021. The new rules show the threshold for deporting EU citizens will be lowered for behaviour after the end of the transition period, as negotiated in the Withdrawal Agreement.
This brings EU citizens in line with the deportation regime all our non-EU fellow citizens in the UK have been facing for years - a system that expels people, separating them from their family and returning them to a country they may never have lived in.
Colin Yeo commented he expected 'the number of EU citizens to be deported to increase substantially from January 2021 onwards'. The Home Office has clearly not learnt its lesson from Windrush and we will monitor the situation closely to see how and if the recommendations of the Wendy Williams' Windrush report will be implemented as promised.
Which leads me to the Family Reunite UK letter to Boris Johnson. the3million is proud to be a signatory, and you can sign too as an individual by clicking on the picture below:
In the letter, we ask Boris Johnson to remove the minimum income threshold for a British parent to bring a non-EU spouse so families can stay together, no matter what. This rule will also severely affect our British friends in the EU, despite being covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, if they were to return to the UK with non-British family members.
Nicolas Hatton is the CEO of the3million
You are invited to a webinar this Saturday!
The East European Forum and the3million invite you to a panel discussion, followed by a consultation session, on the topic of political rights, representation and community engagement for EU residents in the UK, 18 July 1-4 pm.
Both the East European Forum and the3million noted in their previous research and publications the issue of a lack or near lack of representation of EU citizen voices more broadly, and particularly East European communities, in politics in the UK. The question is, what can be done to increase the visibility of these voices in public debates and in politics?
Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rcOqhqDkoGNxEHXEiCJm-6baz3HJknvqi
Have your say on the Settled Status scheme
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is accepting evidence on the operation of EU Settlement Scheme. Do you have knowledge or experience of the Scheme? Submit evidence here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/call-for-evidence-eu-settlement-scheme