Let’s talk EU citizens, citizens’ rights uncertainty, Home Office, Settled Status outreach and money — especially the Government profits from it.
It has been 867 days of EU citizens being left in limbo by the UK Government, and the Home Office is already profiteering from this massively.
The latest Home Office figures show that the number of EU citizens taking British nationality has soared by almost 200% since the 2016 EU referendum. In the year ending June 2016, just over 15,000 EU citizens took British citizenship compared with 42,037 in in the year ending June 2018.
Taking British citizenship is not cheap though. Currently £1,330 per adult and £1,012 per child.
In 2017, the cost of processing the same application to the Home Office was only £386. Blended, this is generating a whopping profit margin of 68% to the Home Office!
We have calculated that the approximate 15,000 naturalisations of EU citizens in the year ending June 2016 generated revenues of about £18 million and profits of about £12 million to the Home Office. This has soared to revenues of about £57 million and profits of £39 million for over 42,000 applicants at the year ending June 2018.
As the table shows, the closer we get to Brexit day the more EU citizens are applying for British citizenship. With growing uncertainty over citizens’ rights comes greater need to secure one’s status. Quite a profitable position for the Home Office to be in.
But the story does not end here. From March 2019, all 3.6 million EU citizens will be forced to apply for Settled Status. And there are fees. £65 per adult, £32.50 per child. This will be for approximately 3 million adults and over half a million children. Generating a further £214 million of revenue for the Home Office.
Sure, setting up a process and then churning through 3.6 million people will cost money — the Home Office has set £170 million aside. The question this raises is why EU citizens should bear the cost of a process they did not want, had no say over and is forced upon them?
The amounts generated from both increased application costs for British citizenship and the Settled Status scheme make the £9 million the Government has offered for outreach to charities for ‘vulnerable groups’ almost laughable. It is less than 5% of the overall revenue they will generate!
If the Government was true to its word, and really wanted to grant every single EU citizen Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status, then it would invest the whole of the £214 million into outreach. Brexit will cost a lot of money — the Government needs to be honest about that with the British public.
Making EU citizens bear the cost of their own application, an application for staying in their own home, and even planning to make a £44 million profit over the £170 million cost assumed is simply morally wrong.
The choice for the Government should be simple: either discard the £65 Settled Status application fee completely or invest all of it into reaching at every single EU citizen to ensure that not a single one is left behind.🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s conscent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)