The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan plans to launch a new online portal to make it easier for European Union citizens to get the information they need to stay in the UK after Brexit.
It is estimated that there are around one million EU citizens living in London and Khan believes that their rights post-Brexit are still unclear. He said that statements from the Government that they will need to apply for ‘settled status’ to remain after Brexit are not particularly helpful.
The Mayor is concerned that EU citizens and their families may be worried about their employment status and ability to access services after Brexit, while language skills may also be a barrier to applying for settled status.
The new website will provide EU citizens with information about their rights post-Brexit and direct them to expert legal advice, support services and guidance on employment rights. It will signpost the most vulnerable to advice and support services in London.
‘We estimate there may be as many as 25,000 Eastern European Londoners who may struggle with accessing the new settled scheme,’ said Barbara Drozdowicz, chief executive officer of the East European Resource Centre.
‘Barriers include lack of awareness, poor English skill, low confidence in using technical legal language to tackle applications and difficulties resulting from frail health or age,’ she added.
Khan does not support Brexit, He has called for the UK to remain part of the EU Single Market, with continued qualified freedom of movement ensuring that EU citizens would retain their rights to live and work in Britain.
‘There are approximately one million European Londoners and they are part of the fabric of this city, working hard, paying taxes and playing a major role in civic and cultural life. They will always be welcome here,’ said Khan.
‘I want to make sure that any future process for them is as simple and stress free as possible after what has been a particularly uncertain and daunting period for them, especially for the most vulnerable,’ he added.
Following the EU referendum in June 2016, and the start of UK Government negotiations with the EU, the Mayor has consistently called on the Government to provide a cast iron guarantee to EU nationals that they are welcome to stay in the UK after Brexit.
‘You are Londoners, you are welcome here and you deserve a commitment from the Government that you can stay,’ Khan said.