Fee waived for EU nationals – but that doesn’t make the process right

The 3 million EU nationals in this country may no longer have to pay a fee for settled status but that doesn’t mean that we can have any confidence in the process. It doesn’t mean that we should be any less angry that our friends and neighbours and family and partners are being put through this. They were citizens, free to enjoy pretty much the same rights as us. Overnight they become people who are subject to immigration control.

If we could trust the Home Office to make humane, reasonable, rational decisions about people’s lives, it would still be insulting to these people that we are putting them through it, but we could at least have reason to believe that they would be treated fairly.

The thing is, the Home Office often makes heartless, inhumane and unreasonable decisions that defy any sort of fairness.

The most recent example is that of an elderly Iranian couple who have owned a house in Edinburgh for four decades and who are an integral part of the support system for their grandson with autism. There is, by the way, a petition to the Home Office which I would urge you to sign. Adverse publicity can sometimes help, so do what you can to spread the word. 

We all heard of the ex Mayor of Ipswich, who moved here from Denmark in the 70s, who was denied permanent residence. That decision was eventually changed, but not without huge amounts of stress to the people involved.

These two examples are the tip of a shameful iceberg and I feel ashamed that we are putting millions of people through it.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • John Marriott 22nd Jan '19 - 11:35am

    Sorry; but I see no problem whatsoever in a citizen of another country registering if they wish to take up permanent residence over here. When I was a student I needed a residence permit to work in West Germany in the Summer of 1965. My wife and I needed to go through various checks, including a rigorous health examination before we were allowed to emigrate to Canada in 1970 and, when we lived in West Germany in 1973/74 not only did we need a residence permit but also needed to register our permanent address, as did all West Germany citizens, with the local authorities. In fact, unless tge system has changed, if you move addresses over there you have to ‘unregister’ (abmelden) and re register (anmelden) – forms available from many shops – with the relevant town hall. And you also need an ID card! Food for thought?

  • The Lib Dems should be campaigning for EU27 Citizens living here to retain the right they currently have to vote in local elections. John Marriott above seems unable to grasp that the settler process is retrospective – some people have already been here for over 40 years.

  • Peter Hirst 23rd Jan '19 - 2:36pm

    What about a default British citizenship once you’ve lived here for 5 years unless you don’t want it or are disqualified; this applying seems degrading?

  • Peter Martin 23rd Jan '19 - 4:37pm

    “They were citizens, free to enjoy pretty much the same rights as us. ”

    If they are citizens they enjoy EXACTLY the same rights as us. In fact, they are us!

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