11 March 2021: Guardian: Campaigners say refusal to delay June deadline risks ‘second Windrush on much bigger scale’
The high court has rejected a legal bid for an extension to the EU settlement scheme (EUSS), dismissing campaigners’ concerns that those EU residents who fail to apply to remain in the UK before July could face “devastating” consequences, similar to those experienced by the Windrush generation.
Legal action mounted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants called for the Home Office to extend the deadline to ensure that those who miss the 30 June cut-off date do not become undocumented and liable to detention and removal.
“On 1 July 2021 anyone who has yet to apply, or apply successfully, will be left without immigration status and exposed to the consequences of the hostile environment; at risk of losing their jobs, homes, access to benefits, and healthcare, driving licences, detention, criminalisation and removal – a second Windrush, but on a much bigger scale,” Paul Bowen QC for the JCWI told the court.
The current design of the EUSS has disastrous implications for significant numbers of EU citizens. The Migration Observatory at Oxford found that tens of thousands of people, especially the most marginalised EU citizens, such as older and disabled people, Roma communities, looked-after children and survivors of domestic abuse, are at risk of losing their immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
JCWI’s own research finds that EU care workers and other key workers – the very people we are relying on to pull us through the COVID crisis – are amongst those in real danger of being left behind by the scheme. Research, published earlier this year, found that 1 in 7 care workers surveyed online did not know or were not sure what the EUSS was and 1 in 3 care workers did not know there was a deadline or did not know when it was.
Anyone who is unable to apply by the June 30th cut-off point will lose their legal status and rights overnight and faces detention and removal. People who have lived and worked in the UK for years could face criminal penalties for simply turning up to work the next day.
JCWI is arguing that the Home Secretary is:
- Acting unlawfully by failing to collect, monitor, and publish equality data about the EUSS in breach of her public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010;
- Is in breach of the Equality Act and EU principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination because of the discriminatory impact the EUSS has on minority and protected groups;
- Is in breach of the Human Rights Act because she has failed to put in place adequate safeguards to stop vulnerable groups and minorities from being made undocumented.
The government is proud of the fact that it has spent over £4 million on the campaign to encourage EU citizens to apply for settled status. It spent around £150 million on the marketing campaign to encourage people to switch over to digital TV and had budgeted over £200 million.
European Roma people without settled or pre-settled status could face deportation at the end of June, a community group has warned. Speaking to The Canary, the Bradford-based organisation Connecting Roma warned that thousands of people could be affected by a chaotic and poorly communicated settlement scheme put in place by the Home Office.
Connecting Roma’s director and head of services Daniel Balaz estimated that between six and eight thousand European Roma live in the Bradford area, an unknown number of whom face serious barriers to getting their settled status before the official 30 June deadline for the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
The story is one of optimism turned sour. Balaz said many Roma people from EU countries like Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Romania, who came to the UK for better lives and to escape discrimination in their own countries, may now face hardship and the risk of deportation.
[…] As well as language and financial barriers, a suspicion of the state and state-backed organisations based on centuries of anti-Roma discrimination and a lack of engagement with the European Roma community by the Home Office and other organisations have compounded the issue.
January 2021: Roma support group: Engaging with the Roma community on the EU Settlement Scheme – Toolkit for local authorities and community organisations – see this pdf:2021-January-Roma-accessing-citizenship-after-brexit-RSG-Toolkit-Roma-EUSS-outreach-for-LAs
Briefing for Parliamentarians and local authorities: The EU Settlement Scheme and the Roma communities in the UK.
A panel discussion to discuss the impact of the EU Settlement Scheme on the Roma communities in the UK was organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma and the Roma Support Group and held on 17 November 2020 . You can watch YouTube footage of this event.
This statement summarises the most important concerns that people form Roma communities have in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme’s “digital only status”. It also provides recommendations on what the UK Government could do to prevent issues arising. The information provided here was developed in collaboration with organisations providing EUSS support to Roma communities from across the country and networking within the Roma Brexit Campaign and Policy Project. (October 2020)
5 October 2020: Independent: ‘I have nothing’: Roma people left without support and at risk of exploitation due to digital-only status
Exclusive: Fresh concerns about digital-only EU status as report reveals Roma people unable to prove immigration status and exposed to exploitation by individuals offering unqualified and paid-for ‘support’
Tens of thousands of Roma people are at risk of facing further exclusion from society because a lack of digital skills in the community means many are struggling to prove their EU settled status – the immigration status all EU national in the UK are required to obtain in order to remain in the UK legally after Brexit – which exists only in a digital format.
The Home Office says it provides successful applicants to the EU settlement scheme with only a digital copy of their status to ensure they can “constantly access proof of their status” and that this is in keeping with the “shift towards digital status in all areas of life”.
But a new report, coordinated by the charity Roma Support Group and seen by The Independent, warns that many risk being left unable to prove their status despite living in the UK legally as a result of having no physical immigration document, and are already being exploited by third parties offering unqualified or paid-for “support”.