EU groups lose Brexit trust in Home Office

CAMPAIGN groups, representing EU citizens anxious to protect their right to remain in the UK after Brexit, have warned they will reject any deal that gives the Home Office any say in their future.

Grassroots campaign groups across the UK and Europe wrote to EU negotiators on Monday to say the Home Office “cannot be trusted”, following last week’s debacle when the department, mistakenly, sent up to 100 letters to EU nationals living in the UK, ordering them to leave the country or face deportation.

“If serious errors like this can be made whilst the UK is still administering a system based on EU freedom of movement rights, what is likely to happen when it is running its own system, having ‘taken control again’?” asked British in Europe, a coalition of 11 citizen campaign groups across the EU and the UK.

The3million group, which campaigns for the rights of EU citizens settled in the UK, is also informing the government that it is, officially, opposing the post-Brexit offer of a new immigration category of “settled status”.

Nicolas Hatton, co-founder of the3million, said: “We talked to some of the EU citizens who received these letters. It was a terrifying experience for them. We have tightened up our policy over the summer and we have decided we have no option but to oppose the settled status on offer.

“We are saying that ‘settled status’ will put people under the direct rule of the Home Office, and that would be fine if the Home Office could be trusted. But we have no confidence in the Home Office. They cannot be trusted.”

As the third round of Brexit talks got under way in Brussels, The British in Europe group told EU officials that the purpose of its letter was not simply to complain about UK maladministration, but to ask the commission to “focus very closely on this issue in negotiations”.

The Home Office has apologised for its error, but British in Europe says the blunder highlights the risks of being at the mercy of the department after Brexit.

The group says it wants the Government and the EU to agree that EU citizens can continue to have permanent residency rights which stemmed from the EU treaty, also allowing British citizens in Europe to live in other member states.

It is also opposed to the application process for settled status and wants their rights to be rolled over automatically to the post-Brexit era.

Hatton added: “The British government have pretended for a long time now that they care about EU citizens. We are seeking guarantees for our lifetime, and not one, two or five years.

“The ‘settled status’ on offer would give the Home Office extraordinary powers, and, after last week’s maladministration, it is plain to see they cannot have a role here because there is no way the Home Office can guarantee those rights.”




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Posted by on Sep 1 2017. Filed under Local News, News Alert. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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