‘Councils need resources to help EU residents stay in UK post Brexit’

22 Jun 18

Councils must be “adequately resourced” to help their EU residents with advice and support as they apply to stay in the UK after Brexit, council leaders in the capital have said today.

The Home Office announced yesterday that EU citizens will need to pay £65 to apply for UK immigration status under the government's £170m EU settlement scheme.

The cost for children under 16 will be £32.50.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes, announcing the application process in the House of Commons yesterday, estimated 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK would apply. 

Clare Coghill, London Councils’ executive member for business, Europe and good growth, said: “London boroughs will need to be adequately resourced to ensure London’s one million European residents get the advice and support needed to secure their rights.

“The government must make sure that local authorities have a voice in the run-up to the introduction of the application process and ensure any impacts on our residents are fully understood.”

She said it was vital that applications were as “simple, quick and easy to access so that all eligible European Londoners are able to secure their right to continue to live in the UK once we leave the EU”.

A Home Office spokesperson told PF: “The Treasury has allocated the Home Office £395m in EU exit funding. Of this, £170m is for further development and delivery of the settlement scheme.

“This allocation is being kept under constant review to ensure value for money.”

The scheme will open fully by March 2019 and the deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021.

Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, said: “We need far more answers still about what happens to those who aren’t registered by June 2021 through no fault of their own, such as children.

“At the moment it appears that if children aren’t registered within the next three years then they will lose their legal rights even though they may have been here all their lives.”

Nokes told the Commons: “We will continue to expand our communications to ensure that EU citizens are aware of the scheme and how it will operate, and to ensure that they are reassured that they will have plenty of time in which to apply for their new UK immigration status.

“The EU settlement scheme will provide a straightforward way of enabling those who have made their lives in the UK to stay here. We want them to do so.”

To apply, EU citizens will have to prove their identity; prove that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

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