Thousands of EU nationals living and working in Birmingham may remain undocumented just days before the deadline for the Government's EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). And Birmingham City Council Deputy Leader Cllr Brigid Jones today urged the Government to extend the 30 June deadline, following reports that 130,000 EU citizens settled in the UK could be on the verge of losing access to healthcare and other benefits.
Councillor Jones has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel MP, outlining serious concerns about the looming deadline and requesting an urgent on the number of Birmingham residents that have applied. She said: "Like other cities across the UK, Birmingham has seen higher than expected application numbers. But gaps in national data mean it’s not possible to accurately say how many more people are yet to apply.
"What we do know is that the Covid pandemic has significantly impacted the level of outreach, support and advice available and has exacerbated existing challenges for people, as well as their ability to access face-to-face services. This predominantly affects households with dependent children, women, survivors of domestic abuse, older people.
“Surely it's reasonable to extend the deadline for these and other vulnerable groups. We’ve worked very hard to reach out to them through Adults and Children’s Services and Schools, but there’s a limit to who you can reach during a pandemic."
Cllr Jones added: “Birmingham is a wonderful diverse city and we are proud to offer a warm welcome to all who want to make their home here, including our friends from across the European Union.
“They play an important part in city life, helping to deliver our public services, enriching our culture and running and supporting businesses. Brexit has not changed this; we are still the same welcoming city and we want our EU citizens to stay.
“So, my message to EU citizens is this: I’m so sorry you are having to go through this but it is so important that you apply so you can stay here with the same benefits you currently have. I have written to the Home Secretary asking that government extends the deadline for people to apply.
“However, there is no guarantee this will happen, so please do apply no if you haven’t already.”