Help stop the Home Office criminalising EU citizens after Brexit

by The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Help stop the Home Office criminalising EU citizens after Brexit

by The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Case Owner
JCWI is an independent national charity, founded in 1967 to defend the rights of Britain’s migrant communities and fight for a fairer immigration system.
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The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Case Owner
JCWI is an independent national charity, founded in 1967 to defend the rights of Britain’s migrant communities and fight for a fairer immigration system.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

We are taking action to help prevent tens of thousands of the most vulnerable EU citizens and their family members from being criminalised after Brexit.  

The Home Office requires all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members to apply to the EU Settlement scheme in order to carry on living in the UK after Brexit. Anyone who misses the cut-off date will be left without legal status, facing the full force of the hostile environment. That means people who have built their lives and homes in the UK will be criminalised overnight for working, renting accommodation, driving or opening a bank account.  

Vulnerable people are most at risk of being criminalised

It’s the most vulnerable who are at greatest risk of being left behind. From older people struggling with technology and forced to choose between securing their status and risking their life by making an application in person; to survivors of domestic abuse whose status depends on their abuser; to disabled people forced to meet a higher standard of proof if their benefits records don’t tick the right boxes - it’s people who are already marginalised that bear the risks of this badly designed system 

And workers in industries with poor working conditions, insecure contracts and low pay, such as care, construction and agriculture are also at higher risk of being left behind and criminalised because the Government is relying heavily on employers to inform people about the scheme. Those in poor employment conditions are far more likely to have not heard of the scheme or to be unaware of the details of how to apply or the consequences of missing the deadline.  

The Home Office insisted on creating a system that will criminalise people who miss the cut-off date. Vulnerable people will pay the price for that choice.  

The Home Office is ignoring the risks

Despite the well-documented risks, the Home Office has no way of knowing whether marginalised groups are struggling to access the scheme, because it doesn’t ask. 

It collects age and nationality data from applicants, but isn’t collating statistics on applicants’ sex, ethnicity, race or disability – all ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010. This information would tell the Home Office who is applying to the scheme and whether they’re successful, and give an indication of whether people in certain groups are being left behind. Nor is it assessing whether everyone eligible for the Settlement Scheme has obtained it before it shuts down the scheme. Without this, there is no way the Home Office can know whether the scheme is going to result in protected groups being more likely to fall out of status.  

The Home Office claims it has produced a ‘Policy Equality Statement’ setting out its assessment of the risks of the scheme to protected groups, but it is fighting every step of the way to keep it secret.   

We believe the Home Secretary is acting unlawfully by failing to gather this data, or to otherwise properly monitor how the scheme is affecting protected groups. 

The clock is ticking -  we have to get the Home Office to act now

Months of lobbying and appealing for common sense have simply not worked. The clock is ticking to the cut-off date, and we need to get the Home Office to change course now. 

We’ve written a pre-action letter to the Home Secretary setting out our legal concerns with her monitoring of the schemeShe has until 23 September to respond, and we need to be ready to act as soon as that date comes around. 

Our legal team - Sara Lomri and Bijan Hoshi at  Public Law Project and Paul Bowen QC and Emma Mockford of Brick Court Chambers – are ready to go. But we need your help. 

We can't do this alone

We are asking for donations because we at JCWI have brought this claim in our own name. That means that we run the risk of paying the Home Office's costs if we lose the case, which could be very significant for us as a small charity with limited funds. Your donation will help us take up this fight by limiting the financial risk that we are taking.  

Any additional funds will be used to meet some of the costs of our solicitors at Public Law Project, which is another small charity and who are doing this case on a no win, no fee basis. If we are unsuccessful, they and our barristers will have put in substantial resources working on this case for free. If possible, we think its right that we should be able to pay them. 

We understand finances are extremely tight for many people right now. If you can't chip in, could you share this page?

Pledge today to help stop the Home Office criminalising innocent people

The Home Office should be doing everything in its power to protect people. Instead, just like with Windrush, it is ignoring warnings that innocent people are going to become criminalised, undocumented and at risk of detention and deportation. 

To help the tens of thousands of people at risk of being forced out of status and into the brutal hostile environment, please donate now 

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