EU citizens are wrongly told they cannot stay in the UK!

by Here For Good

EU citizens are wrongly told they cannot stay in the UK!

by Here For Good
Here For Good
Case Owner
A strategic legal charity dedicated to securing and upholding the rights of migrants.
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Here For Good
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The Home Office is changing the Immigration Rules in a very dangerous way.  They are denying the status of European citizens and their families who have lived in the UK for decades. This means these families no longer have the right to work, rent or live in the UK. They are at risk of removal from the country they call home. Together, we must stop this.

Imagine your right to work, to rent, to live in the place you call home being stripped away. 

Imagine you had no say over the decision.

Imagine you were forced to apply for a new, untested form of settlement - or face being removed from the country.

Imagine your life is already complicated – perhaps you’re homeless, struggling with mental or physical health issues, or a victim of domestic abuse.

Imagine, after all that, the Government makes it even harder for you to secure your rights.

This isn't fantasy. This is the reality for tens of thousands of European citizens and their families who have built their lives and homes in the UK.

As a result of Brexit, EU nationals and their family members have been required to apply for legal status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Although the deadline to make an application was in June 2021, there are thousands of people who were unable to apply in time, or didn't know they had to apply. Many of these people have lived in the UK for decades. 

The Home Office now refuses their applications because it believes they don't have a 'good enough' reason for applying late. We think this is wrong in nearly every case we see.  

In August last year, the Home Office introduced even more draconian rules relating to late applications. This has resulted in tens of thousands of applications being rejected. Behind each application is a person being stripped of their rights. We need to stop this.

Our client Rafaela* has been living in the UK since 2012. She was exploited for many years. In 2021, she was told by the people exploiting her that her EUSS application had been submitted and approved. She found out two years later that her application had been refused. Given the exploitation she had endured, she had very few documents in her own name. She applied again but it was refused as she was unable to provide some of the requested evidence. She then made a late application to the EUSS in October 2023 which was rejected as invalid because she “did not have reasonable grounds for applying late”. This is completely unjust.

We have seen multiple other applications rejected as invalid where people clearly did have reasonable grounds for applying late. One of our clients applied late because they were homeless and didn’t have the resources to make an application in time and another received poor legal advice which meant the original application made in time was unsuccessful. The changes introduced raises significant risks and many  EU citizens may soon soon encounter issues akin to those witnessed in the Windrush scandal. 

What makes the current situation even worse is that there is no right of administrative review or appeal against the decision to reject a late application.

Consequently, adults and children across the country are being rejected status even when they have had the right to live here for decades. Many of them are now falling victim to the Government's hostile environment policies and are in constant fear of removal. This is scary and wrong.

Does the Home Office really think that these people do not have reasonable grounds for applying late? Not really. When put under pressure, the Home Office actually agrees with us.

Since the Immigration Rules were changed in August 2023, Here for Good has been assisting individuals whose applications have been rejected as invalid on the basis that they did not have “reasonable grounds for applying late”. We have shown to the Home Office that they do in fact have “reasonable grounds”, we have requested the Home Office to reconsider their decision or we would commence litigation and in every case, the Home Office has changed its mind and accepted the application as valid. But for every person that Here for Good can help, there are thousands  we are unable to reach.

These people would desperately benefit from a right of appeal on their application, so that if the Home Office makes an incorrect decision, an independent body can consider whether or not it is reasonable that the applicant has applied late.

Tens of thousands of people are receiving refusals with no way of challenging the decision. We think this is against the law, so we're taking the Home Office to Court.

The High Court has now granted permission for Here for Good to bring a legal case against the late Home Office policy guidance and given us a Court date on the 18th June. This means that the Court agrees that the case is arguable, and that Here for Good has standing as an NGO working to protect migrants’ rights. The High Court has also granted a cost-capping order of £10,000, so, if Here for Good does not win the case, we will have to pay the other side’s legal fees of up to £10,000. We will also have incurred other costs such as Court fees and our own lawyers’ fees. All in all, we need to raise at least £12,000 to fight this cause.

As a small charity, we wouldn’t be able to pay these fees if we were unsuccessful, but this is too important to leave unchallenged; so we’re relying on your generosity.

If we’re successful in our case and don’t need to pay legal costs, all funds will go towards activities that support the charity’s operating costs and founding mission: protecting the rights of in-need European nationals and their families.

Together, we can stop the Home Office from unlawfully excluding European citizens and their families from their home in the UK. We can stop them from eroding long-established principles of justice. Please join us and donate now.

*Client's name changed for anonymity

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