The Government has tonight been defeated on the Immigration Bill, including amendments from the Liberal Democrats to protect the British nationals living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. An amendment from Baroness Hamwee to preserve the right of UK nationals living in the EU to bring non-British family members with them if they return to the UK was passed this afternoon.
Another amendment passed tonight, tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Jonny Oates, to force the Government to provide EU citizens in the UK who are granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status with physical proof of their migration status – instead of the digital-only proof under the Government’s current system.
Izzy wrote a letter in support of this amendment as part of the campaign. https://deniedmybackup.org.uk/
She wrote: ‘I have recently helped two gentleman in their 80’s to get settled status. One Swedish and one Italian. They have both lived in the UK since their 20’s, contributing to our economy and community for over 60 years. One worked as a nurse in the NHS and the other opened a string of restaurants throughout the Midlands. Both these gentleman were very confused and upset when they learned they would not be given physical proof of their settled status. The Italian gentleman does not use email and will be totally reliant on his son’s help if and when he is asked in future to prove his status in the UK. He is a proud man and does not want to have to bother his son.
They are both eligible to apply under the Windrush scheme – but it is more paperwork, involves sending their passport to the Home Office and is not something I am qualified to help them with. Even then a card will only be valid until 2024. Both have found obtaining settled status stressful already, they were in denial about it for some time. They have had difficulty understanding why they would need to apply to two schemes and so far have not taken the Windrush opportunity. People need to prove their immigration status throughout life – when seeking a new job opportunity, finding a place to live or getting treatment in hospital. Where British citizens use their passport as proof and non-EU citizens have a biometric residence card as backup, EU citizens can only prove their new immigration status through the Home Office website. If any one part of the digital checking process fails, people without a physical form of backup will be vulnerable. We should not have a two-tier system for proving the right to stay in the UK, with inferior access for EU citizens. A digital-only immigration status will create new barriers for EU citizens – especially the elderly and most vulnerable, who may not have the necessary digital skills and who need alternative ways of accessing services. This is not a fair way to treat our friends and neighbours. I worry about my two elderly gentlemen if they are asked to prove their status, especially if it were in a stressful situation such as needing urgent medical treatment.’
The bill will now go to the House of Commons. We will need your help to convince Conservative MP’s to do the decent thing and vote for these two amendments. You can help, follow the campaign https://deniedmybackup.org.uk/ Write to MP’s and demand they keep their promise made in the Leave campaign that ‘No one will be treated any less favourably’