'The true number of EU citizens in the UK is unknown'-Len Duvall

The London Assembly, the 25-member cross-party body tasked with holding the Mayor of London to account, has today written to the Mayor on highlighting the potential issues facing EU

citizens in London following Brexit. 

The letter from the EU Exit Working Group highlights the lack of data on EU citizens in the UK as a major stumbling block in ensuring those who are eligible to apply for the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) do so before June 2021. 

In 2019, it was estimated that 3.7 million EU nationals were living and working in the UK but with the recent announcement that 4.5 million EU nationals have already applied for the EUSS, the true number is yet to be known. The letter raises several concerns including:

  • Need for action concerning the hard to reach and vulnerable EU citizens in London
  • Gaining clarity over acceptable grounds for a late application to the EUSS 
  • Ensuring citizens with a permanent residence document understand that they do not have a right to reside after 30 June 2021
  • Ensuring employers and authorities understand the rights of Londoners with pre-settled status 
  • Creation of a communications plan to ensure that local authorities, landlords and employers understand the rights conferred by pre-settled status.

Len Duvall OBE AM, Chair of the EU Exit Working Group said, “The true number of EU citizens in the UK is unknown, worryingly there is no data to help understand how many EU citizens live and work in this country. Those working to ensure all EU citizens are contacted, especially those in hard to reach communities, about the settlement scheme are chasing their tails. Without having the data or knowledge as to where EU citizens work and live, reaching them is an impossible task. 

“Come June 2021, there could be tens of thousands of people living in the UK without the proper documentation because the need to apply for settled status is unknown to them. There must be clear guidelines as to what would be considered a good reason for missing the June 2021 deadline, as there could be thousands of late applications if EU citizens are unaware of the role they have to play in securing their right to live and work in the UK.”

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