The EU citizen group the3million wrote to all MPs about the shortcomings of that legislation which is contrary to Boris Johnson and Vote Leave’s promise in June 2016. Many members have also written to our newly elected Tory MP Danny Kruger (firstname.lastname@example.org). The amendments have not been voted through but our objections to the Bill will have been counted.
The case described below highlights the complexity of achieving Settled Status despite receiving paid professional advice. When Mr Kruger voted for the unamended chapter, he would have done so despite the impact on his constituents and their loved ones.
Dear Mr. Kruger,
My wife is a German national and we have been living back in the UK and residing near Devizes since 1997. I am a retired IT professional and a British citizen as is also our grown-up daughter who lives in the UK.
1. My wife began her Settled Status application in October last year having contacted an Immigration Lawyer for advice and support. This is a paid for service and there will be many applicants who will not be able to pay over £1000 for the privilege of this help and assistance. Her application was submitted in late November along with the evidential paperwork (copies of Council Tax invoices, bank statements etc.). We were told to expect to wait 6-8 weeks for a verdict and so far in early January we have not had a response.
2. The sequence of steps to be negotiated during the self-service application – which requires the applicant (or lawyer) to use alternately a standard browser device (PC or tablet computer) as well as an Android phone – is not straightforward and requires good IT familiarity and confidence. The lawyer who assisted my wife’s application took many attempts and 10-12 minutes in total to read the biometric chip on her passport. It is still not possible to use an iPhone for the step of reading the passport’s biometric chip.
3. The documentation expectations/requirements to provide evidence of residency in the UK over the last 5 years are onerous and anyone who does not have their private paperwork in good order will be severely challenged to provide the necessary evidence.
4. Fortunately we have a joint bank account and the Council Tax invoice includes both my name and my wife’s. In Germany – and I believe here too – having utility bills in the name of one partner only is quite normal practice which can prevent their use as evidence of residence. Detailing your absences from the UK for the last five years could be difficult to itemise if you are a frequent business traveller. My wife is a home maker and hence we only needed to recall a few holiday absences per year.
5. I do take considerable issue with the Home Office not being prepared or perhaps able to use existing government records to determine whether an individual has been residing in the UK for the last five years or more, for example: HMRC Tax Returns, N.I. payments, Electoral Roll, DWP records etc.
6. Lastly I do believe that “customer trust” in the Settled Status process would be significantly improved if the Home Office were to send a formal document (certificate) for each successful application. The public sector’s record on executing IT Projects has never been very good and without a certificate in the hand my wife remains in fear of one day being turned back when wanting to re-enter the UK after a holiday absence.
I ask you to consider these issues I have raised above with the Settled Status process when debating the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill this month and to support constructive amendments to firm up and improve the Settled Status process.
My wife is a Supporter of the 3million organization and they recommend that you consider voting for Amendments 5, 6 and NC5.
Devizes for EU is keen to reach Devizes constituents affected by the new legislation to help amplify their voice locally. If you can support or need support regarding Settled Status please do not hesitate to contact us: email@example.com