Following Brexit the UK government required all EU nationals to register for settled status in the UK by 30 June under its EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), irrespective of how long EU nationals may have lived here.
After analysing EUSS applications the Home Office believes that there is a significant number of over 65-year-olds who have not yet applied to the Scheme. Many older EU nationals believe that because they’ve lived here for decades or married a UK citizen, they don’t need to apply.
Citizens Advice is working with the Home Office to ensure that as many vulnerable people in the Stroud and Cotswolds districts apply as soon as possible. Failure to apply could result in loss of benefits including state pension, pension credit, attendance allowance or PIP which will affect the income that local care homes will receive, as well as their residents’ right to healthcare and their right to live in the UK.
Elizabeth Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice Stroud and Cotswolds said: “It doesn’t matter how long individuals have lived in the UK: unless they already have a document showing their immigration status, they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
“We suggest that care homes check nationality status with all residents, regardless of how long they have lived in the UK. If there are capacity or capability issues that mean that this is not possible, we strongly suggest that you speak to their next of kin, or a family member or other relative.
“Care home staff should establish their residents’ nationality and if they’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, whether they have documentary proof of their UK immigration status. This could be a passport stamp, a letter from the Home Office or a residency card.
“If they have no documentary proof of their right to reside, they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications are supposed to be made online, which can deter some people. Those who are unable to apply online should get help from a carer or family member or they can contact us.”
Those who are confident with digital media can use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app on a smart phone, and then complete the application at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status.
Citizens Advice offers free telephone or email advice and can make face-to-face appointments to complete the application where necessary. Follow them on Facebook @CitizensAdviceCotswoldandStroudDistricts