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Settlement Scheme

For those who do not know it yet, if you are a European citizen who lives in the UK, to maintain your rights after the Brexit (because if you first have jumped the queue, now instead you must do it) you have to apply (not register, apply and hope for the best*) the so-called settled status (EU Settlement Scheme).

Last Saturday we went to better inform ourselves at a meeting organised by a law firm, Seraphus Solicitors, and they explained for two hours, free of charge, how it works.

Since then, I got definitely angry.

But let’s get back to the point: there are a couple of things that I didn’t know, although I was informed wherever I could, and instead it seemed important to let people know.

The first is that to check if a person has been in the UK for at least five years, the Home Office checks the data it has up to 7 years back in time and not beyond.

Practical example: a woman who has lived in the UK for 15 years, for the first seven years has regularly worked and then decided to stay at home with her children, without any bills or current account in her name, she will have much more difficult to prove her residence.

The second is that the current expiration date (that could change) to request settled status is December 31st 2020.
We have been told that it is illegal if any department or employer requests to check your settled status before that date and that it also applies when you cross the border.

The reason for my anger, which after 3 years of patience has decided, rightly, that it doesn’t want to go, is the general impression I had during that meeting: when the Home Office has implemented the procedure has done everything to simplify its life, without in the least considering the possible discriminations and problems that the people involved could have had.

I was able to perceive it in the stories and expressions on people’s faces: different stories and different difficulties, and the fact that, as always, the most disadvantaged people are also those most affected.

The problem is that all this is the least that can be expected from an office that has created the hostile environment and the Windrush scandal.

And it is also for this reason that I will not apply for the settled status unless it is strictly necessary.

Quote from the government website:

If you’ll reach 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 31 December 2020, you can choose to wait to apply until you reach 5 years’ continuous residence. This means that if your application is successful, you’ll get settled status without having to apply for pre-settled status first.

I will have five years of residency next year, and therefore, net of possible disasters, I don’t dream of giving my data to the Home Office before that date, also because I have no intention of doing the same procedure twice. And if it’s possible to wait any longer, I’ll do it.

But the anger remains.

* Note: there is an excellent article from the 3million organisation which explains the difference between register and apply.

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