the3million reacts at the news that EU citizens who won’t have applied by the deadline could risk deportation.

First published in October 2019.

It is with mixed feelings I am writing to you today on my way to the rally for our rights in London.

On the one hand, I am delighted we successfully organised our first fundraising event on Tuesday night, hosted by comedian David Schneider. This is important because EU citizens in the UK need the most robust representation possible at a time when our future is nothing but certain or guaranteed, and we need to make sure the3million can continue its crucial media, legal and advocacy work in 2020 and beyond with the adequate funding. Please consider becoming a regular supporter today.

On the other hand, I am horrified by the words of Secretary of State Brandon Lewis, when interviewed by the German newspaper Die Welt’s journalist Stefanie Bolzen, as he revealed a little dark secret of the Settled Status scheme and the application deadline:

“If EU citizens have not registered by then without an adequate justification, the immigration rules will apply.”

Stefanie Bolzen then asked whether those who did not apply in the next 14 months would face deportation even if they fulfilled all legal conditions for a residence permit, Lewis said:

“Theoretically yes. We will apply the rules.”

(Read the interview in full in German here.)

The story was widely reported in the British and European media, and quite rightly so. For the first time, a minister has admitted what the3million has been saying for a long time: EU citizens who won’t have applied by the deadline will be threatened by the hostile environment and could risk deportation.

We are talking about law-abiding citizens who, for no fault of theirs, have not managed to apply.

A report by the Migration Observatory of Oxford University listed the people who would be most at risk and it is particularly painful to think this Government is considering deporting those who are the most vulnerable, namely children, very long term residents, people suffering from language barrier or digital exclusion, and older citizens over 75 who often have problems associated with memory loss when sourcing evidence and identity documents.

It is not too late to stop this madness of turning law-abiding citizens into unlawful residents. The status can still be made automatic, put into law now, and the EU Settlement Scheme changed from an application to a registration. Check our campaign about automatic rights for more details.🔷


Did you know the3million is the leading non-profit organisation of EU citizens in the UK? If you can help their campaign to continue, you can:


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[This piece was originally published on the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 12 October 2019, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Brandon Lewis - Speech to Conservative Party Conference 2018.)