EU citizens’ lives will be severely impacted if their current rights are not replaced by equivalent rights under the protection of the future Withdrawal Agreement, Nicolas Hatton argues.

Last week, the European Parliament organised a hearing about citizens’ rights, and the3million, British in Europe and other organisations spoke in front of a full house of MEPs in Brussels.

My first remark was that no other organisations appeared to grasp the situation quite like the3million and British in Europe, and we highly recommend you watch or read the speech of our co-chair Anne-Laure Donskoy.

Our lives will be severely impacted if the current set of rights we enjoy is not replaced by an equivalent set of rights under the protection of the future Withdrawal Agreement.

For example, accommodating the Home Office by agreeing to a voluntary early application scheme which won’t have a basis in the Withdrawal Agreement is pure madness, as EU citizens and their families won’t be protected by the force of the Treaty when they apply.

The only acceptable registration is one deriving directly from the Treaty (thus not starting before the Treaty is ratified, ie. March 2019), with a statutory right of appeal.

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While we are on the subject, one more thing is essential: to have the ability to complain and seek resolution through an independent ombudsman, as we all know the Home Office will get it wrong (current error rate is 10%). the3million has asked clarification about the creation of such ombudsman.

This issue is exacerbated by the proposed exemption in the current data protection bill, which will prevent me or you from accessing data held about us by the Home Office. What if they get it wrong with our settled status application? With a current 10% error rate, how will we able to challenge a decision if the Home Office has the power to withhold our data?

Today we are asking you to write to your MP and express your worries about a situation they can easily avoid by simply amending the bill and removing Schedule 2 Paragraph 4 (immigration exemption) to protect us from errors.

The Guardian

Imagine this:

It’s April 2019, and hundreds of thousands of EU citizens are starting to apply for settled status. Some are lucky, others are not so lucky and get refused based on an error by the Home Office (the current error rate stands at 10%).

These EU citizens start to appeal, but because MPs have passed the Data Protection Bill with an exemption for immigration data, they are not allowed to see the information the Home Office holds about them, and therefore have no way of proving the Home Office’s error.

Then come the enforcers...

Please write to your MP asking them to amend the bill and remove Schedule 2 Paragraph 4 (immigration exemption) to protect us from errors.

The problems are many and the issues are complex but we must continue to fight for our rights, alongside our friends in British in Europe. If you can donate, please continue to do so as we could not run this David vs. Goliath campaign without your generous donations.

To be continued...🔷

- Join the3million mailing list today to receive the latest news about the3million and the campaign for all EU citizens living in the EU to retain their existing rights after Brexit.

- Visit the3million website.

(Cover: Flickr/Duncan Hull - Banksy does Brexit, Dover, UK.)