Home Office and the EU Settlement Program | Letters
Rafael Behr’s article (EU citizens have made the UK their home – they now face a hostile environment, May 18) could mislead readers and discourage eligible EU citizens from applying for the EU’s settlement program. EU. I am delighted that since the launch of the EUSS in March 2019, more than 5.4 million applications have been received. It shows how the government has made the system as simple and user-friendly as possible.
It also reflects our investment in raising awareness and supporting people. We have released £ 22million to help vulnerable candidates, spent nearly £ 8million on public awareness campaigns and have dedicated staff at the EU Settlement Resolution Center to provide support for seven days per week.
As the program nears the June 30 deadline, it is only fair that we do everything we can to encourage those who may need to apply to do so. We want to make sure that everyone who is eligible gets the status they deserve under the EUSS.
This includes working with the Department of Work and Pensions and HMRC to identify and send letters to people who may not have applied. We made it clear in these letters that no action should be taken if a person has already applied for or already has UK citizenship. Anyone who applies before the deadline will have their existing rights protected, pending the outcome of their application.
I encourage anyone who still needs to apply to do so now, with support available online, by phone and through our network of grant-funded organizations.
Minister of Future Borders and Immigration
I am among the recipients of the Home Office letter (Home Office sends immigration status warning letters to UK citizens, May 17) urging people to apply for the the EU, which in a Kafkaesque way changed my identity, declaring: “you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national”. I am neither, but a proud British citizen with no other passport. My naturalization in 1998 was an important step that finally gave me a sense of belonging after years of being a citizen of nowhere. It shocks when the government redefines its identity and there is no way to clarify it. I have lived in the UK throughout my working life, worked hard, proudly paid my taxes, contributed to charity and never used state benefits. The letter appears to be a post-Windrush error. These systemic failures reflect the contempt of immigrants and ex-immigrants in today’s UK, which has created a hostile environment.
Dr Jolanta Opacka