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EU citizens warned over missing Brexit residency deadline

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EU citizens warned over missing Brexit residency deadline

By Andrew MacAskill

 

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FILE PHOTO: Early morning mist rises as migrant workers prepare to pick grapes at Chapel Down Winery's Kit's Coty vineyard in Aylesford, Kent, Britain, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is threatening to deport European Union citizens if they fail to apply on time for a new immigration status after Brexit and will only grant leniency in exceptional circumstances, according to people briefed on the plans.

 

In previously unreported guidelines, the government has drafted a narrow list of exemptions, such as those with a physical or mental incapacity, or children whose parents fail to apply on their behalf, the people said.

 

The government is introducing the biggest shake-up of Britain’s border controls in decades, ending the priority given to EU migrants over those from other countries. Most EU citizens will need some form of prior permission from the government to remain in Britain.

 

The government has often been accused of failing to establish who is living in Britain legally or illegally. In what became known last year as the Windrush scandal, thousands of Caribbean migrants were wrongly denied basic rights. Some lost jobs, others were wrongly deported.

 

Government figures show just over half of the estimated 3.5 million European Union citizens living in Britain have received the new legal status ahead of the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline.

 

Immigration lawyers say they were invited to the Home Office a few months ago to read the government’s draft immigration guidelines, which had a section on what will happen to EU nationals who fail to apply on time. The government has not said when it will publish the information.

 

A general election is being held on Dec. 12 and if the Conservative government loses, the proposals could be changed.

 

‘HIGH THRESHOLD’

 

“We are looking at a fairly high threshold, saying ‘I forgot’ won’t be good enough,” one of the lawyers said. “If someone fails to apply before the deadline they will have no lawful residence. Then the process to deport them will kick in.”

 

The Home Office said in a statement individuals who miss the deadline through no fault of their own will still be able to apply for lawful status.

 

Until now the government has said officials will do everything they can to grant EU nationals the right to remain, and steered away from focusing on what would happen to those who fail to apply on time.

 

Campaign groups fear that many EU citizens lawfully in the country could fall through the net and plans to have all EU nationals registered by the end of December next year are too ambitious.

 

A study in March said that most historic take-up rates for large-population registrations ran from less than 20% in the UK to 43% in the United States and 77% in Spain. The only scheme that came near to a 100% take-up was an ID card system in India.

 

Maike Bohn, who works for the 3million group, which supports the rights of EU citizens, says the most vulnerable in society such as the elderly, those not in regular employment and victims of domestic violence may fail to apply.

 

“We are massively concerned about this. It’s our biggest worry,” she said. “I meet people on almost daily basis who are aware of the scheme, but think they don’t need to apply.”

 

The application process in Britain has come under fire, with people who have lived in the country for decades saying they face an inflexible bureaucratic system.

 

Even if the application scheme in Britain achieved 95% success, about 175,000 people would be left out.

 

After the deadline, EU nationals who have failed to apply face being gradually transformed from legal residents into undocumented migrants, and the government has been explicit about the threat of deportation.

 

The Home Office has said EU nationals who fail to apply on time “will be liable to enforcement action, detention and removal as an immigration offender”.

 

DIFFICULTIES

 

Other migrants say their difficulties with the British immigration system are a warning to EU nationals.

 

Hari Babu, an Indian migrant, said he faces deportation because his accountant made a mistake on a tax return and he is being punished under a law designed, in part, to deal with people who are a threat to national security.

 

For the past three and a half years, the government has held Babu’s passport, preventing him from working or visiting his grandmother in India.

 

The Home Office said applications were considered on their merits and indefinite leave to remain would be refused if false representations were made or false documents or information submitted.

 

Babu moved to Britain in 2007 to study for a masters degree and then had a variety of jobs, including as a recruitment manager at the upmarket clothing company Thomas Pink.

 

But when he applied for permanent residency the government said he had underpaid about 1,000 pounds in tax. Babu said it was an error by his accountant and when rectified there was no additional tax to pay.

 

“I have been depressed and barely slept for last three years,” he said. “I have no doubt people from the EU will face similar problems.”

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-14
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5 hours ago, from the home of CC said:

and people are whining about immigration issues here? 

Exactly...

 

Do not want foreigners in the UK but can not understand the Thai's not allowing them to overstay.

 

Wonder how many millions the government will spend on adverting the 31st of Jan? 

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18 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

Britain is threatening to deport European Union citizens if they fail to apply on time for a new immigration status after Brexit

Yeah, good!!
After Brexit a lot of trucks full of inexpensive Vietnamese are waiting to be the new "cheap labour" for UK .

Lets watch the fast incoming madness of BS BJ and Brexit !

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My wife (German) went through this process in July; all pretty painless. In her case, they did not automatically accept the last 5 years, even though she has been in the tax system, health system, etc for 27+ years, because since retiring, we have traveled a lot and she has been out of the country for over 50% of each of those years. We just had to pick a 5 year period before we retired, and we printed out her tax records etc., and sent off online. Authorisation came through in just over a week.

 

We always find it laughable when Germans complain about having to register, when in Germany you have to register if you move from one town to another within the country.

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2 hours ago, sawadee1947 said:

Better leave a hostile country 😈

From an Irishman in....🙄

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I don't know, but when the headline reads "EU citizens warned over missing Brexit residency deadline", I smell some sort of MSM Brexit-thrashing rat when the article goes on to moan about an Indian citizen being deported for not complying with tax law. 

Screenshot 2019-11-15 at 09.15.09.png

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6 hours ago, rhyddid said:

Yeah, good!!
After Brexit a lot of trucks full of inexpensive Vietnamese are waiting to be the new "cheap labour" for UK .

Lets watch the fast incoming madness of BS BJ and Brexit !

How exactly does that incident tie in with this thread, other than to bash the fact that we're leaving?

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And the tens of thousands of British retirees living in Europe who are owners in France many in normandy and also in a lot in Spain what will happen to those people?

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