Settled Status and Pre Settled Status are the two new categories of immigration for European Union nationals resident in the UK, replacing their rights under Freedom of Movement, but unlike FoM, require the individual to apply for the new status. This does not seem fair, especially given the promises made by the Leave campaigns during the Referendum. It also means that it is quite possible many EU nationals will miss out on the new status and be subjected to the full force of the Hostile Environment in a similar manner to many of Lambeth's Windrush generation of Carribean immigrants.
We have campaigned consistently for the promises to be honoured, for automatic grants of right, for physical documentation of immigration status but the Conservative government is not prepared to compromise. This does not mean the fight is over. There is a lot that can be done.
No one really knows how many EU nationals are resident in the UK at the best of times, let alone during the Covid pandemic where many people have had their lives disrupted by disease, lost employment or housing. Local and central goverment do keep records but these only paint part of the picture. There are also many people who, due to age, language ability or infirmity will struggle to both become aware of these rules and then make a successful application. It is our view that central and local government must redouble efforts to ensure as few people as possible will miss out.
The Lambeth Liberal Democrats propose that both the Home Office and Lambeth Council write to all households as a matter of urgency, to advise them of the need to apply for Settled Status. This may well be expensive but it will be cheaper than the alternative, as we have seen with the Windrush Saga (which is still ongoing!), as well as reducing the chance of people missing out. We propose a simple, non addressed information leaflet be sent out to all households in December. We do appreciate that the Council has taken steps during 2020 but we think more must be done.