News

Physical proof of status should be offered to EU citizens

Published: 15 Sep 2021 10:10
Part of:
Brexit, International

Joint letter from devolved governments calls for additional safeguard.

The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are calling on the UK Government to offer EU citizens physical proof of their settled or pre-settled status.

Currently, EU citizens who have secured settled or pre-settled status have no way of proving with physical documentation that they have the right to reside in the UK, potentially causing problems for their employment and access to services.

Today a joint letter from Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland ministers has been issued to UK Government which voices their collective concern over the offer of a digital-only platform for proof.

This letter to Kevin Foster, UK Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, has been signed by Minister for Europe Jenny Gilruth, Wales’ Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

It states that a physical document, to be offered in addition to existing digital proof, would be an additional safeguard to provide re-assurance, help prevent discrimination, and assist employers and other service providers.

The letter states: “We all have an obligation under the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 to ensure that EU citizens are treated fairly.”

It adds:

“All other groups of people who choose to make the UK their home and to contribute to our communities and economy are given physical proof. It cannot be right to deny EU citizens the reassurance that is offered to other migrant groups. Having two types of proof for two groups will lead at best to confusion and at worst to discrimination.”

The full text of the letter can be read on the Scottish Government website here:

www.gov.scot/publications/physical-proof-of-status-for-eu-citizens-joint-letter-including-minister-for-culture-europe-and-international-development