Robert Goodwill MP
Minister of State for Immigration
House of Commons,
Dear Mr Goodwill,
The vote to leave the European Union on June 23rd has placed the futures on three million people who have contributed, lived, worked and paid taxes in the UK, in doubt.
Despite reassurances from government ministers, there are clear questions on the current and future circumstances of EU nationals who have made the UK their home, as well as the 1.2 million Britons living in EU27 states.
We have heard from people who are afraid for their small businesses, are unable to seek a new job or get a mortgage, are afraid of being separated from their families, or are in fear of leaving the UK on holiday in case they experience issues with visas or re-entry.
To end this uncertainty, many EU citizens have decided to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in the UK. On entering this process they have been hit by overly complicated and lengthy application procedures, red tape and high associated costs.
Recent UK government migration data showed that in the last two quarters of 2016, more than 12,800 EU citizens had their permanent residency requests refused with a further 5,500 declared invalid, a rejection rate of around 28%.
Does the government have an explanation as to why this figure is so high? Will the government be releasing information about any discrepancies between these figures since before the referendum?
Additionally, we also ask that you give further information to the three million EU citizens living in the UK regarding the need for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI). The wording of the new regulations changes appear to grant the UK Government the power to remove from the UK, at a moment’s notice, anyone who does not possess this supplementary insurance, regardless of whether they are entirely self-sufficient, and previously entitled to care under the NHS.
It is inconceivable that EU citizens who came to live and work in the UK would have known of the future need to take out additional CSI in order to secure residency permits they never assumed they would one day need.
We ask that your office clearly set out what these changes mean for EU nationals residing in the UK and that should the interpretation be incorrect the wording changed to reflect that not having the supplementary insurance will not affect the right to remain.
We would like to remind the government that until the terms of the UK’s exit are agreed, the UK remains a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations that accompany that membership.
We would request that for the duration of the negotiations, EU and British laws continue to be respected, and that those citizens who have had uncertainty cast over their futures both in the UK and across Europe are treated as people, rather than bargaining chips.
We look forward to your response.
Sophie In’t Veld