The Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales have issued a helpful update for all EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK who seek to remain here following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“Given the very large proportion of European citizens who are Catholic, this affects many of our parishioners across England and Wales.
While a significant number of people have already completed the process, almost 25% of European citizens living in the UK have not yet applied. This leaves them at risk of losing their rights to live and work here or access important services such as healthcare. We are particularly concerned about older and vulnerable people who may struggle to navigate the process, require assistance with the online application or not even know that their status is at risk. In many cases their main point of contact with society will be through the Church.”
A reminder of the Settlement Scheme’s main points:
- Any EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living here is required by the government to apply online by 30 June 2021 in order to protect their existing rights.
- To be eligible people must be living here by 31 December 2020.
- Some non-European family members of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens are also eligible.
- Irish citizens do not need to apply.
Details of the application process can be found at gov.uk/eusettledstatus
Information on assistance for vulnerable citizens who may have difficulty in applying can be found at gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme
Additional assistance is available if you:
- are elderly
- are isolated
- are disabled
- are a child in care
- have significant language or literacy problems
- have mental health issues
- do not have a permanent address
- are the victim of domestic abuse
- are the victim of human trafficking
Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Chair of Westminster Justice and Peace Commission writes, “Our parishes and ethnic chaplaincies bring together a large number of citizens whose future may be uncertain in post-Brexit Britain. As such they are much needed centres of hospitality where people from diverse places can celebrate identity and put down roots in our multicultural society. Hopefully by publicising this information widely we can help those who need guidance in securing future residence and so see justice is truly being done in welcoming the stranger.”