Nicolas Hatton on EU citizens and other foreign nationals living in the UK rightly losing confidence that their rights will be upheld by the government after Brexit considering the lack of clarity over the immigration exemption to the data protection bill.
It has been a choppy ride for EU citizens since the referendum. The December deal between the EU and UK has laid the foundation for settled status and its conditional access for all 3 million EU citizens living in the UK through an application to the Home Office.
While we can all be proud to have made the Home Office change its tack and work on a simplified procedure, we still have grave concerns about the lack of clarity should errors happen and an application is rejected as a consequence.
It’s worth noting that the current error rate for applications is 10%, which means that up to 300,000 EU citizens could be subjected to errors when applying for settled status, with the horrible risk of falling prey to the hostile environment.
Today, the3million and the Open Rights Group sent a formal letter to Amber Rudd to give notice that we will take legal action against the British Government if the immigration exemption to the data protection bill is enacted.
We are sad to have to take this step to safeguard our rights but we feel compelled to do so in order to get more openness, transparency and better access to justice.
This exemption would effectively prevent applicants from defending themselves in case their application for settled status is rejected or refused.
The UK’s proposed secrecy in respect of ‘immigration flows’ is very concerning for EU citizens. It is diametrically opposed to the need for transparency and openness, and contrary to the terms of the European safeguards in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will take effect in May.
While the government has stated that their new system for registering the over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK will be ‘simple, transparent and streamlined’, they are seeking to stop these citizens from accessing data held on them.
How can EU citizens, as well as all other foreign nationals living in the UK, rest assured their rights will be upheld when the government’s words have not matched their actions?
While we hope the Government will consider carefully its next step today, you can also add pressure by contacting your MP and ensure they will vote for an amendment removing this dangerous exemption.
You can do this on the rather excellent page set up by our friends at the Open Rights Group.
To be continued...🔷
PS: While the campaign intensifies, we must continue to fight for our rights, alongside our friends in British in Europe. If you can donate, please continue to do so so that our team of full time volunteers can be supported to continue this crucial work.