Hundreds of individuals in Britain originally from countries in the EU are being told they cannot stay in the UK after applying for official immigration status post-Brexit, data has revealed.
Most recent statistics detail that 300 European-born individuals have been refused settled status. They will not have the legal right to remain in the UK after the deadline of June 2021, unless they are able to appeal their refusal and win.
The refusal rate is slim with as three million EU citizens have been processed overall with many successful, but there is an upward rise in refusals according to last month’s figures as seven applications were refused.
Previous refusals have been on grounds of criminality, but the reasons given for most of most recent refusals are regarding eligibility. This is mostly due to the applicant not being able to give authorities the appropriate documentation and evidence.
The Home Office remains adamant that officials have gone above and beyond to assist all applicants in retrieving the correct documentation and says that a refusal is not given lightly.
It appears that the Home Office is looking to refuse applications beyond criminality reasons which is a cause for concern for many
Campaigners are concerned by the sudden jump in refusal rates. Maike Bohn, co-founder of the3million, a group that seeks to ensure European citizens are rightfully represented and treated by UK officials, expressed her fears about this dramatic increase in refusals.
Bohn said: “We urgently need more explanation from the Home Office as to why those cases have been refused. It is concerning that as soon as the UK left the EU, we see people being refused settled status.”
It appears that the Home Office is looking to refuse applications beyond criminality reasons which is a cause for concern for many. Christopher Desira, an immigration solicitor at Seraphus law firm, said the anxieties from those in more complex family situations are spiking as these can be quite difficult applications.
Desira also said that due to the COVID-19 public health crisis there is likely going to be less free advice services able to inform individuals who are having their applications refused but want to appeal the decision. He believes the Home Office ought to halt their refusals of applications for the time being to give people a fair chance to seek advice.
Tens of thousands of EU citizens will still be left without official status by June 2021
The Liberal Democrat homes affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine wants the government to support her Private Members’ Bill which was tabled last month that guarantees the right of EU-born citizens in Britain post-Brexit.
Tens of thousands of EU citizens will still be left without official status by June 2021. Jardine states that such a situation would mean the UK has thousands of undocumented people at risk of being evicted from their homes, resigned to immigration detention or even being deported to their country of origin. Clearly, this would mean a huge strain on public services and souring an already tense relationship with the EU.
Jardine said: “It will be a new Windrush scandal.”
Minister for future borders and immigration Kevin Foster said it’s “good news” three million have been granted settled status. Foster is right but he ignores the issue of those who are suffering because of this worrying increase in refusal rates. It must be addressed before we have yet another crisis on our hands.