Thursday, December 9

Brexit pre-set situation: EU citizens in the UK face loss of jobs and housing | Brexit


EU citizens living in the UK applying for a change of status are at risk of being rejected by landlords, employers and mortgage lenders due to an anomaly in government issued digital residence permits.

Before being able to access public or financial services, EU citizens must demonstrate that they have been granted settled or preset state by the Ministry of the Interior.

Pre-settled status, which has been granted to nearly 2.3 million people residing in the UK before December 31, 2020, can be upgraded to settled status after someone has continuously lived in the country for five years.

However, when someone requests the update, the confirmation that they have a preset status is automatically removed from their online permit, leaving them unable to prove that they are legally in the UK.

A Hungarian citizen, who preferred not to be identified, faces losing the house he is buying with his girlfriend because his mortgage lender refuses to accept his permission as proof of his right to live in the UK.

You were granted pre-settled status in 2019, but when you applied for settled status in April, your current status was removed from your online permit. Now just show a request certificate.

“Since the Home Office system does not offer me any other official means of proving my legal status in the UK other than through the online database, I am now in the situation of being ‘not legal enough ‘to access the basic services that would be legitimately available to me, ”he said.

An Italian policy analyst whose home purchase was also compromised when his pre-established status was removed from his permit, said he was informed by the Interior Ministry’s helpdesk that it was a technical problem.

However, the Interior Ministry insists that it is an approved procedure. “If a person has a prior settled status and has since applied for settled status, the certificate of application for settled status will be displayed on their account,” a spokesperson said. “You can call the settlement resolution center to request that your account show its pre-settled status if you prefer.”

However, callers to the helpline face hours of waiting with no result. The Hungarian citizen says he spent more than 11 hours on the line trying to solve the problem.

He also submitted an online inquiry and an email complaint. “The automated response said ‘Our goal is to get back to you within 20 business days,’” he said. “We don’t have that long before we lose the house to them.” His permit was adjusted after the Guardian’s intervention and he has been granted settled status ever since.

The campaign group, the3million, which defends the rights of EU residents in the UK, has reported the issue to Independent Supervisory Authority for Citizens’ Rights Agreement, a public body.

He said he has heard of people who are at risk of losing their job because their preset status is no longer visible. The online system also does not show when applicants are appealing a rejected application. Instead, it only indicates that a request has been rejected.

“The see and try system does not adequately handle an individual’s progression through the EU settlement scheme,” said a spokesperson for the3million.

“Rather than the online status showing a claim history or reflecting the person’s correct current rights, it appears to show the most restrictive status possible. A woman who was denied pre-settled status because the evidence she had provided with her application was insufficient, reapplied before the deadline, but her opinion and proof of status still show that her application was rejected, there is nothing about a new application. “

Activists claim that EU residents are discriminated against because, unlike other foreign immigrants, they do not receive a paper copy of their residence permit. Instead, they have to prove their legitimacy with a code share that allows service providers to see their status online.

Two months after the deadline for settled and pre-settled status requests, reports suggest that many are unable to secure mortgages or open bank accounts because financial institutions have not adjusted their automated systems to accept digital share codes in place of Backup documents.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said: “The EU settlement plan provides people with a secure digital state that guarantees their rights in the future. This can be easily shared with employers, landlords, and other organizations, including financial institutions, such as banks, to demonstrate a person’s rights and access services.

“Between October 2019 and the end of June 2021, the online check service has had more than 640,000 profile visits from organizations that verify immigration status. Guidance for monitoring individuals and organizations is widely available on gov.uk. ‘


www.theguardian.com

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