Posted: Thu 16th Sep 2021

Welsh government joins calls for physical document to be issued to EU settled citizens

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Sep 16th, 2021


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Ministers in Wales have joined with other devolved nations to call on the UK Government to provide physical proof of EU citizens settled status.

There are a number of difficulties some EU citizens face in not having physical proof of status.

Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt added her signature to those of Scottish and Northern Ireland ministers to a letter sent to Kevin Foster, UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration requesting that EU citizens are given the option of receiving physical proof of their settled or pre-settled status.

It states that a physical document, to be offered in addition to existing digital proof, would be an additional safeguard to provide re-assurance, help prevent discrimination, and assist employers and other service providers.

This safeguard is necessary to help prevent “discrimination, enable EU citizens to prove their status to employers, help vulnerable citizens prove their status more easily,” ministers say.

The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30 June.

The most recent estimate is that there are 95,000 eligible citizens in Wales.

As of 31 May, 92,700 applications had been received from Wales, up from 83,800 at the end of January.

The letter states : “We all have an obligation under the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 to ensure that EU citizens are treated fairly,” the letter states.

“All other groups of people who choose to make the UK their home and to contribute to our communities and economy are given physical proof.

“It cannot be right to deny EU citizens the reassurance that is offered to other migrant groups. Having two types of proof for two groups will lead at best to confusion and at worst to discrimination.

“This less favourable treatment is wrong in principle but also in practice.

“Digital only proof makes it difficult for EU citizens to prove their status to employers. As you know, currently EU citizens must request a digital code and send this to the employer who then checks the citizen’s immigration status on the UK Government’s website.

“This process may be considered bureaucratic and slow, and deter employers from offering work to EU citizens. Faced with two candidates – one with physical proof and one with digital proof – employers may find it easier to offer work to the former.

“A physical document will help vulnerable citizens prove their status more easily. We are particularly concerned about the elderly and people with mental and physical impairments. Some people have poor digital literacy skills, while others simply do not have routine access to the internet.

“The UK Government offers a physical back up to digital vaccine passports. The digital NHS Covid Pass enables people to share their vaccination records but people can also request a paper copy of their pass.

“If the UK Government can offer safe and secure paper vaccine passports, it can do the same for EU citizens’ immigration status.”

[Image: crossborderlegal]

 

 

 

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