By Wiebke Rueterjans, EU citizen in the UK and European Movement activist.
This is urgent. The deadline for EU citizens living in the UK to apply for Settled Status and the right to remain in the UK is coming up on 30th June - in less than 50 days. And on Monday, the Guardian reported that 320,000 applications have yet to be processed by the Home Office. Unless they are processed in time, 320,000 EU citizens and their families could be left in legal limbo without the documented legal right to live in the UK.
It is hard to put into words just how much suffering this could cause. EU citizens could end up being denied a job, a flat to rent, a mortgage, and even lifesaving NHS treatment because of their unclear immigration status. This is already happening to thousands of UK residents, and the situation could get a lot worse.
The government has said that it will respect the rights of citizens waiting on their application. But if the Windrush scandal taught us anything, it was that we cannot rely on promises from government ministers on this topic. We need legal guarantees and real certainty.
The European Movement supports campaigns for physical proof of residency to be given to all residents under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Amid news reports that EU citizens are being detained and mistreated at the border, we also call on the government to ensure that people's rights are not taken away. But this isn't just happening to EU residents of the UK, it's happening to thousands of other non-British citizen residents as part of the hostile environment. We need to stand together and demand better.
On 21st May, as part of their Stories of Brexit Action Day European Movement supporters will be meeting their MPs to demand that they offer real protection for the rights of EU citizens.
I am asking you to sign up to the European Movement’s Action Day and ask your MP to act now for EU citizens facing hardship.