Experts warn of the consequences for hundreds of thousands of citizens

British border

Can EU citizens residing on the island still enter and leave the UK at will after June 30?

(Photo: dpa)

London Ahead of a major deadline, experts have warned of legal problems for hundreds of thousands of EU citizens living in the UK. The application deadline for the so-called EU Settlement Program ends on June 30.

“Anyone who has not submitted their application before the deadline and cannot prove a good reason for a late application will immediately and irrevocably lose their right of residence,” said a report by the UK expert group on a changing Europe released on Wednesday. These people are even at risk of being deported. Hundreds of thousands could be affected.

Foster children and the elderly are at particular risk

EU citizens and people from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who were in Great Britain before the end of last year are eligible to apply for the program. Experts consider that older people, foster children or the homeless are at particular risk of missing the important deadline – that is, all those who might find the purely digital application process difficult or are not even aware of who will apply for a new status later. Brexit has to do it.

Furthermore, a clear weak point is that there is no EU citizen registry in Britain and the government cannot check how many people there are in the country who initially have to apply.

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“The EU liquidation plan is a great success, as it has created a fast and efficient system that has reached a large number of people. But now it is entering a phase that requires sensitive management and where the government must be pragmatic and flexible in difficult cases, “said Catherine Barnard, deputy director of the expert group. To date, more than five million people have applied for settlement status in the UK, more than originally expected.

Problems could also arise from the fact that settled citizens do not have physical proof of their right of residence, but can only access it digitally in a very complicated way. “There is no document that can keep its owner or employer under its nose,” Barnard said in a briefing with reporters. Experts hope that after the deadline, problems and complications will take longer to appear.

Plus: Dispute over Northern Ireland: London with strong accusations against the EU

Vince Fernandez

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