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UK government accused of forcing immigrants to leave the country

UK, ( Many people who have lived in the UK for more than 10 years and have been granted leave to remain have been told that they no longer have the right to live there. The country's Home Office explained that such measures will apply to those who have not submitted an application to the EU Settlement Scheme by the June 30, 2021 deadline. Euronews reports this. However, a large number of people say they simply were not aware of these changes. Around 50 organizations have asked the UK government to change its decision. The letter of appeal was agreed upon by 3 million people.

Following an outcry from immigrants, the British government said in January it would reconsider its position.

The3million, a movement set up in the UK to represent EU citizens living in the country following the Brexit referendum, told Euronews that the government's U-turn would likely not go far enough.

Those who settled in the UK before Brexit and previously received a residence card will be able to apply later for the EU Settlement Scheme, but only under certain conditions, according to a new British government announcement.

“The majority of late applicants will continue to face huge barriers to their applications being processed... The most vulnerable will be affected,” says The3million spokesperson Andrea Dumitras.

“We are disappointed that the Home Office still does not recognize that holding an EEA permanent residence card is in itself sufficient evidence of reasonable grounds for late application,” Dumitras said.

An Italian couple who own a restaurant in Belfast told Euronews their business account and current account had been frozen by the bank. "We only found out about this when we tried to process the payment to the supplier, but it did not go through. We contacted the bank, but they did not tell us anything or advise how to solve this problem," said the business owners, indicating that they felt "devastated, humiliated and worried." At the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs “did not give advice on what actions should be taken.” Only after paying for the services of an immigration lawyer did they have some clarity and an idea of ​​what to do next.

It took a month to sort it out and now their business is "destroyed" and they "won't be able to reopen it."

This story is not unique. As Euronews notes, people have been victims of a lack of transparency from the British government since Brexit came into effect.

“Vulnerable EU citizens, those living in poverty, ethnic minorities, those who are not digitally literate can still be refused, despite the fact that they have lived in this country for years,” points out Andrea Dumitras. Politicians previously promised that EU citizens would retain their rights after Brexit.

Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, the UK was required to guarantee the rights of EU citizens legally residing in the country. In turn, EU countries must do the same for British citizens living there.

After the application deadline in June 2021, the British government promised to accept late applications if there were “reasonable grounds.” However, in August 2023, Rishi Sunak's lawmakers changed the rules so that ignorance of the EU settlement scheme was no longer an excuse for not applying.

UK government accused of forcing immigrants to leave the country