EU nationals living in the borough are reminded to end the year with peace of mind that they can remain in the UK by applying for the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Government figures show that 16,930 Richmond residents have submitted an EUSS application and, of these, 16,420 have been concluded. However, the Council believes that there are still many people who are eligible for the EUSS who are yet to apply, in particular vulnerable citizens such as older people and non-EEA nationals.
The Council is urging all residents from EU countries and eligible non-EEA nationals who want to stay in the UK to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible.
The deadline to apply is the 30 June 2021. Those who have not applied by the deadline will lose their legal rights to live, work and access benefits in the UK.
Leader of Richmond Council, Cllr Gareth Roberts, said:
“This has been a hugely distressing time for many of our residents who have had to deal with the uncertainty around their rights to live, work and access services in the borough, as well as the horrible challenges of a pandemic. The pandemic has proven that we are only as safe as our most vulnerable neighbour. Settled status will give many of our colleagues and neighbours much needed reassurance and the safety nets we all need at this time.
“Our EU citizens in the borough make invaluable contributions to our culture, prosperity and success. It is incumbent on all of us - including employers - to make sure that EU citizens are made aware of the deadline and what they need to do.”
The Government have said that all EU nationals must apply for Settled Status to keep their right to remain in the country and secure their rights to vote, get free medical care and welfare benefits.
EU nationals carry out many important jobs that benefit the borough’s economy and have close personal relationships with British citizens living in the borough. The Council is therefore concerned about the impact on the local community if many of them do not receive full settled status. The Council is also appealing for local employers, the voluntary sector, schools and colleges to encourage any EU or eligible non-EEA nationals in their networks to apply. Whilst there are high profile campaigns both locally and nationally to raise awareness of the EUSS, many will only hear about it through word of mouth.
– from a Richmond Council press release - 21 December 2020