Dear fellow EU citizen,
It's only four days until the UK leaves the EU and we are being asked the same question over and over again. What's next for EU citizens in the UK?
From our point of view, Brexit is a discrimination project which takes away our equal rights as EU citizens in another member state (and forces us to apply to stay in our homes.
On a practical level, you and your family members need to know that it won't be safe to live in the UK without a valid immigration status from July 2021 and you should make sure you can continue to remain a lawful resident. Our partner charity Settled has published simple guidelines in different languages, and I encourage you to share them with people who haven't yet got pre-Settled Status, Settled Status or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
This month, we at the3million have been doing hundreds of interviews with British and international media, and we are repeating the same message: EU citizens have made their home here, but the atmosphere has changed. It is often hard to express in words how we feel, as we face hostility and possible discrimination.
Since 2016, there has been a damaging rhetoric of 'us and them', and many of 'us' have experienced it in our private lives.
Sometimes, it's only a glance when we speak as our accent reveals more than we intended. Other times, it's a not-so-funny joke from a colleague or a family friend asking 'when we are going back?'. And for the most unlucky ones, it's a violent xenophobic attack, whether verbal or physical.
Overall, there is now an assumption that we need to prove our place in the UK, and many of us feel that we don't belong anymore. The word cloud above is taken from the excellent research published last week by Professor Tanja Bueltmans, which illustrate this point perfectly. You can read more about the report in last week's newsletter, including a link to download a PDF version.
The UK Government is not on our side, either. First, they considered us as the bargaining chips of the Brexit negotiations; then we became statistics as they measured success by the number of applications to Settled Status. Throughout, they have been tone-deaf when the3million has voiced legitimate concerns and worries about the new scheme.
Yet, nothing is done to support our integration apart from empty words from ministers, an application scheme which may work for many but ultimately fails the most vulnerable who cannot apply through no fault of their own, and the ludicrous absence of a physical document, the one thing which would reassure us of our future on these islands.
Talking of physical documents, the online portal for employers or landlords to check our status was down for over an hour this weekend, and we have no confidence the Government can prevent it from breaking down again.
There is a simple solution to this: to issue a physical document to all pre Settled Status and Settled Status holders. the3million will continue to fight for this and to hold the Government to account.
We cannot afford to get depressed though, and this Friday, we are organising a commiseration Eurotrash party in a German pub in London. Come and celebrate the only Brexit silver lining there is with us: the wonderful EU citizens we have met along the rocky road since the Referendum. There are 50 tickets still available, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Information and tickets at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/90990130931
They can take us out of Europe but they cannot take Europe out of us.
Nicolas Hatton, CEO and co-founder of the3million, the EU citizens' group
Please support the3million by joining our 600-strong team of regular donors. In 2020, we will continue to campaign to stop the Government making hundreds of thousands EU citizens unlawful in 2021, to secure physical documents, to maintain voting rights at local elections and to ease our access to British citizenship.
We simply couldn't do it without you and you can make a difference by becoming a supporter for the price of a cup of coffee a month.
IN THE MEDIA
Renowned chef refused residency after living in UK for 23 years
Minister confusing EU citizens worried about their right to remain in the UK after Brexit
(The Huffington Post)
Settled Status: the cliff-edge approach puts many vulnerable applicants at risk
(The London School of Economics and Political Science)
Without physical proof of our settled status, EU citizens like me fear for our futures post-Brexit
Landlords back card for EU citizens to prove post-Brexit status
Applying for Settled Status
Over two million EU citizens and their families have applied for Settled Status but it is not as straight forward as it seems and we recommend you seek help and ask questions before applying.
Our page Applying for Settled Status is good summary of the process, including what documents you will need to successfully apply:
The website from our sister charity Settled, which specialises in outreaching to EU citizens at risk, is also very helpful, as Settled Status is explained in a simple manner. They currently have information in 7 languages and growing.
Here for Good is a charity set up specifically to help you in applying for Settled Status.
You can conveniently call them if you have a questions or seeking free immigration legal advice:
Mondays, 0930 - 1130
Wednesdays, 1130 - 1330
Fridays, 1330 - 1530
☎️ 020 7014 2155 (standard phone charges apply)
The helpline is run with Bindmans LLP
We also recommend the London Mayor information hub for EU citizens, which is available in 23 different languages:
Our friends at UKCEN have developed a public forum to help with a Settled Status and British citizenship applications: https://www.forum.ukcen.com
We have also partnered with the European Commission in the UK and Here for Good to provide simple information about your rights as an EU citizen living in the UK. Click on the link below to find out more:
Settled Status information sessions:
Check this website to find out about information events about settled status near you: http://www.eurights.uk/events