19.04.2021

Central England Law Centre has joined charities from the West Midlands in calling for West Midlands mayoral candidates to back an extension to the EU Settlement Scheme to avoid a ‘Windrush scandal’ scenario for Europeans living in the region.

All EU citizens and their families in the UK must apply for the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021 to ensure they can continue to live and work in the UK legally. Anyone who does not apply by the deadline will lose their legal status to live in the UK and rights to work or access healthcare. They could also face deportation or detention.

The 18 members of the coalition fears that thousands across the region – particularly marginalised groups – are yet to hear about the scheme. A letter to each mayoral candidate has been sent, asking them to support the coalition's proposal to lift the deadline to apply.

Recent research carried out by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants showed that one in three EU citizens did not know what the EUSS was or that they needed to apply for it before being surveyed.

The Migration Observatory at Oxford found a similar number of people, particularly marginalised EU citizens, such as older and disabled people, Roma communities, looked-after children and survivors of domestic abuse, are at risk of losing their immigration status and rights due to a lack of awareness about the scheme.

The other organisations that have signed the joint letter are: ASIRT, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, Birmingham Community Housing Network, Birmingham Council of Faiths, Birmingham Social Housing Partnership, Citizens Advice Birmingham, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, EU in Brum, Migration Policy and Practice, Polish Expats Association, Restore, Shelter (Birmingham), SIFA Fireside, Spring Housing Association, St Basils, The Refugee Migrant Centre and Witton Lodge Community Association.

Read the letter here.