Thousands of EU citizens still need to apply to stay in the UK after country finishes the transition period


Thousands of European citizens across the country will have to apply for settled status if they want to remain in the country after the transition period ends.

BUT the latest figures show that in London alone more than 12,000 people have still not been granted settled status, for those who can show they have been in the country for at least five years.

This includes Mitcham resident Maciej Psyk, who moved to London 15 years ago.

The 40-year-old said: “When I moved here my English was not very good, even after learning it at school.

“I was mainly working with other people from Poland and the majority of the crew were immigrants, so there was not the need for English to be spoken really.”

He worked in this job as a street cleaner for more than a year before becoming a driver and working in a warehouse. For the past few years he has had several jobs, working in offices, most recently as a pensions officer for Surrey Council.

Now he hopes to complete a course in IT with the hope of becoming a data scientist.

In 2017 Maciej was granted permanent residency by the Home Office. Now due to the fact that the UK has left the EU and the transition period is almost over, (barring any extensions), if he wants to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021 he, like all other EU citizens who have come to the UK, must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

He said, “Before the 2016 referendum there was a promise that the status of EU nationals wouldn’t be changed, People are forced to apply for settled status which is basically the same as permanent status – this legal limbo will worsen month after month.

“In 15 years I have never been on the wrong side of the law and have been working whenever I can, it is true that at some times I have had to claim benefits, but that is what’s so great about the UK, in times of trouble the government will help a person to survive. I have always been able to find jobs here and there.

“To have to apply for this is humiliating for myself and for many other people in this situation.”

Merton Liberal Democrats are backing a national call for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK.

Of the 30,220 EU nationals in the borough who have applied for permanent residency, more than half have been granted settled status. In all 2,470 EU nationals living in the Merton area of London have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 10,200 have been given only temporary pre-settled status, which means they have not met the criteria in full to receive settled status as yet, they will not be sent back to their home countries as yet but will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.

Paul Kohler is a councillor for Trinity Ward and Wimbledon’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman. He said: “Too many EU nationals in Merton are deeply anxious about their right to stay. With the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this.”


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Written by

Mark T Connor

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