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With only a month to go until the application deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned that some European citizens face a loss of rights such as

experienced by the Windrush Generation, as new figures show thousands of European citizens still without confirmed Settled or pre-Settled status in the UK.

From 1st July, European (EEA+) citizens will need to start relying on a digital immigration status to navigate life in the UK such as taking up employment, renting a flat and accessing public services. But the latest Home Office data released last week shows there remains an application backlog of 101,500 in London, and 302,300 across the UK overall – risking the creation of a new group of undocumented migrants overnight unable to prove their status and access services in the capital. This also includes being charged for NHS treatment. 

The Home Office has recently issued the long-awaited guidance on late applications to its EU Settlement Scheme, but this still risks leaving eligible European citizens and their family members undocumented from next month. Even in cases where the guidance provides a route back to status, temporarily removing EU citizens’ legal right to stay in the UK from July could cause huge problems for those involved and their families. 

Evidence shows that it is the most vulnerable in society who are in greatest danger of slipping through the cracks, including children, older people and rough sleepers. There are also real concerns European citizens will be discriminated against by third parties such as employers or landlords who will require evidence of right to work and to rent.

A recent survey from the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements found a significant lack of trust in UK public bodies by European citizens living in the UK. The survey of 3,000 European respondents released in May found that a third are not confident that their citizens’ rights will be upheld by public bodies and 1 in 10 are considering leaving the UK after 30 June.

Today the Mayor is making a final urgent appeal to European Londoners living in the capital to ensure they apply to the Government’s E.U Settlement Scheme by the end of the month. He is also calling on the UK Government to extend the EU Settlement Scheme deadline to avoid tens of thousands of EU citizens becoming undocumented and vulnerable to discrimination. 

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London simply wouldn’t be the same without the extraordinary contribution of European Londoners living in the capital – they’re our friends, our neighbours and our colleagues. We want them to stay and continue to make a vital contribution to our economy and our communities as we recover as a city after the pandemic.  

“While many of those eligible have now secured their status in the UK, I remain deeply concerned about those whose status is still not yet confirmed. Many are now at risk of discrimination, whether from an employer, landlord or accessing public services.

“So today I’m appealing directly to ministers. Those eligible deserve a cast-iron guarantee that any delays in processing their application won’t lead to them or their families losing their status or being discriminated against from next month. 

“I'm keen to build bridges with Government and work in the national interest, but we need to be clear that with a backlog in applications remaining and people unsure about how to prove their status, we risk seeing a repeat of the injustices faced by the Windrush generation. So I’m calling on the Government to change course and announce an extension to the 30th June deadline.”

Photo by Steph Gray, Wikimedia commons.