A year on from the deadline to the EU Settlement Scheme, we are all now living under the Home Office’s hostile environment.

First published: July 2022.

A year on from the deadline to the EU Settlement Scheme, we are all now living under the Home Office’s hostile environment.

As Communications Manager for the3million, every day I hear from EU citizens and family members who are suffering the repercussions of a set of policies designed to make life unbearable for migrants in the UK.

Last week, I talked to Hussen, a 27-year-old from the Netherlands who came to the UK as a child. He’s been waiting for his status for three years, with no contact whatsoever from the Home Office. He’s lost sleep, he’s lost work and he’s been held at the border repeatedly, being treated with unbearable hostility.

I put him in touch with May Bulman, a trusted journalist. It took her a matter of hours to find out details about Hussen’s case. The Home Office has confused Hussen for all of this time with his twin brother, who is in prison.

This level of incompetence is unacceptable.

It is compounded by the lack of willingness to engage with people. Attempt after attempt to get information has been stifled. Where is the humanity in this approach?

After meeting with Hussen, a desperate Romanian mum called me. She and her husband have pre-settled status, having been in the UK since 2018. They have put in application after application for their two sons. She didn’t know they had to link their applications to hers or her husband’s. It took them three years to get the right advice.

The older son, Rares, is now 19. He’s been unable to get work or a student loan to go on to University. He was questioned by border control for 7 hours when he came back from holiday. He’s left traumatised by this experience. He’s gone on to submit a tribunal appeal and won in May 2022.

To this date, two months later, he has not had a positive decision, despite winning in court.

I then talked to Lukus, a German man, who first came to the UK 10 years ago. He’s been waiting for a year to get a decision. His family is in limbo. His Scottish wife and their two kids who were born in the UK are struggling to make ends meet. He has been denied a crucial loan due to his lack of status.

Hussen, Rares and Lukus are just three of the 245,700 applications pending as of 31 May 2022. People are facing serious consequences, being stuck waiting: losing jobs, rental opportunities, being denied coming back to the country they call home.

The most vulnerable are being pushed into destitution.

We are calling on the government to properly resource the EU Settlement Scheme, processing applications quickly and fairly. We need to also see evidence of the culture change promised after the Windrush scandal and Wendy Williams’ recommendations to be properly carried out.

Thank you for standing with us in this.

PMP Magazine



the3million, the largest group of EU citizens in the UK.
Andreea Dumitrache, Communications Manager of the3million.

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