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UK to unveil details of plans for EU citizens who wish to remain

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Author: Lisa O’Carroll

The UK government will this week unveil the first details of the “settled status” immigration scheme that will apply to Britain’s 3.4 million EU citizens if they want to stay in the country after Brexit.

It is planning to publish a “statement of intent” on Thursday, which will be the first sight of the registration system that the former home secretary Amber Rudd has previously said would be “as easy as setting up an online account at LK Bennett”.

“After two years and five months before they are supposed to launch the registration process, it is good that we are finally going to find out the details of settled status,” said Nicolas Hatton, the co-founder of the3million, the campaign group lobbying on behalf of EU citizens.

The statement of intent will list some of the evidence EU citizens will need to provide the Home Office to prove they are eligible to stay in the UK after it exits the EU but it will not be the final blueprint.

“It will be like a consultation paper. It will say this is the law, this is what we think it will do and how it might change post-Brexit and it will invite people to consult with it to tell if it has got some things wrong or has left gaps,” said an informed source.

Last year Theresa May issued a direct appeal to EU citizens living in the UK to stay in the country, saying: “I couldn’t be clearer: EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay.”

Despite her assurances activists campaigning for the retention of all rights for EU citizens in the country have warned that the settled status immigration category created by the government to cover them still contains flaws and reduces the number of rights they currently have.

“We will of course comment on it, but our main message to the government is that if they genuinely want EU citizens to stay they must remove all barriers in the registration process and make it free,” added Hatton.

The government has promised that the new system will be “streamlined” and “light touch” and will draw on existing HMRC and national insurance records.

But there are major concerns that the scheme is being run by the Home Office, which campaign groups say they do not trust, particularly after a series of mistakes last year which resulted in EU citizens being threatened with deportation and the more recent Windrush debacle.

In April, it emerged that the mobile app developed by the government for EU citizens will not work on iPhones.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/18/uk-to-unveil-details-of-plans-for-eu-citizens-who-wish-to-remain

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