Recently we wrote to Lambeth Council to ask them to consider sending a leaflet to every household in Lambeth, to inform the public about Settled Status (EUSS) and the need for European Union nationals to apply for such before the 30 June cut-off. Whilst we have not had an answer from the Council Leader, we think this is an essential step for not just Lambeth but all boroughs.
No one in the Council or central government has an accurate idea of how many EU nationals may reside in UK, or where they might live. For good or for ill, it is not easy to directly communicate to people from particular countries. This means that trying to educate people about essential information is a numbers game. Every option should be considered, whether it be billboards, advertisements in print or online media, social media and good old leaflets.
Make no mistake, this is a critical issue. People who miss out on getting Settled (or pre Settled) Status will not have the right to remain living in the UK, regardless of however long they may have lived here, jobs, homes or family. The Home Secretary recently ensured that the Windrush era Hostile Environment will apply to such people in full force. The government and the various Leave politicians did promise a more generous arrangement but this was quickly forgotten once the Referendum was won.
The 3million, a group founded by EU nationals to advocate for their interests has launched a campaign in February to lobby the councils to write to every household about Settled Status. We are pleased they are doing this, even though we would prefer they did not have to work so hard to do what should have been done by the government without need for lobbying.
The Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants has also launched a campaign to extend the deadline, citing their recent research that showed 1/3 London based EU national care workers were not aware of Settled Status, or the need to apply. Please check out their report and see how you can help.