• Saturday, Jan 22, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Panic and confusion among EU nationals as UK changes residency rules

  • Published at 07:25 pm February 28th, 2017
Panic and confusion among EU nationals as UK changes residency rules

EU citizens living in the UK have expressed panic and confusion after it emerged new regulations brought in by the government allow the Home Office to remove some of them from the country if they do not have a comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI).

A briefing published by a lawyer revealed that the Home Office acquired controversial new enforcement powers against EU citizens from 1 February. It warns those EU citizens who are not considered to have a "right of residence", including some students and spouses of UK citizens, and who do not have CSI, could be deported or refused entry back into the UK if they leave.

The majority of EU nationals living in the UK are entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS), meaning many do not have the suddenly all-important insurance.

The briefing provoked a wave of panic from European nationals residing in the UK. Dozens of people posted comments on a link to the article shared on a Facebook page for the campaign group, the 3 Million.

“I’m scared," one person said simply, while another expressed confusion, saying: “It raises more questions than answers."

[arve url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFr8h1YX_Ek"/]

Among those expressing concern were a number of European mature students studying in the UK, as well as spouses of British citizens who are not in work, all of whom are at risk of being removed from the country under the new regulations.

The lawyer who wrote the briefing, Colin Yeo of Garden Court Chambers in London, said he believed the changes would not have as serious an impact as feared, but that the Home Office was being “careless” in granting itself such powers in the updated regulations.

He accused the Home Office of causing “unnecessary panic” to EU citizens. “I don’t actually think the Home Office is going to enforce this against say, the French wife of a British citizen. I think they’re using it against people they don’t like, like Polish rough sleepers,” he said.

“The position of a Polish homeless person who hasn’t committed any criminal offences or claimed public funds is exactly the same as the wife of a British banker but doesn’t have CSI, according to the regulations. They’re both equally removable as far as the Home Office is concerned,” he added.

Nicolas Hatton, founder of the Facebook campaign group, 3 Million, told the Independent the unannounced changes and the wave of anxiety that had followed was a “dangerous” sign about the Government's approach to the rights of EU citizens.

[arve url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMBym9chuwg"/]

“Theresa May has got no credibility among EU citizens, because she’s using us as bargaining chips and she’s not considering the human life behind the numbers. She’s just seeing three million people as one big number with which she can negotiate Brexit.”

It comes amid reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May is to end rights given to EU nationals under freedom of movement rules when she triggers Article 50 next month, which would establish a “cut-off date” of around 15 March after which EU citizens would not be entitled to live in the UK permanently.

It is unclear if the Government’s plan would be a breach of the EU treaties that guarantee freedom of movement.

Under the plan, the 3.6 million EU citizens who are already in Britain and others who come before that date would have their rights protected, providing the EU agreed to the same status for UK citizens living in the EU.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail