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MPs urged to prevent discrimination against EU citizens

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

MPs should back proposals to prevent EU citizens with settled status facing severe difficulties accessing healthcare, housing, and employment a coalition of groups representing EU citizens, immigrants and landlords argue.

The House of Commons will today vote on an amendment passed in the House of Lords to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would require EU citizens to be given a physical status document to prove their right to rent property and work in the UK.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the3million and the RLA are warning that unless MPs accept the amendment it creates the risk of landlords and employers being reluctant, without immediate physical proof of their status, to let a home or offer a job to EU citizens.

Settlement scheme

Under the EU Settlement Scheme, the Government plans only to give EU citizens a digital code to prove their residency for landlords and employers to look up online. 

Previous research by Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants on the Government’s Right to Rent policy found that of 150 mystery shopping enquiries from prospective tenants who asked landlords to conduct an online status check, 85 per cent received no response and only three responses explicitly stated that the landlord was willing to conduct an online check. 

Landlords were far happier to respond positively when the tenant could provide a clear physical document proving their status.

A report published by the3million this week found that 89 per cent of EU citizens are unhappy about the lack of a physical document.

Support

Calls for EU citizens to be given such a document have been made also by the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, the Home Affairs Select Committee and the House of Lords EU Justice sub-committee which warned to the “parallel with the lack of documents contributing to the Windrush scandal.” 

In a joint statement, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the3million and the RLA, said: “MPs should back what is a pragmatic and common-sense proposal.  

“It should not be controversial that EU citizens who have played such a positive role to the life of the UK should be able to easily prove their rights with a physical document. 

“A digital only status will massively disadvantage EU citizens against British nationals with a passport, and anyone else who can quickly and conveniently prove their status with a simple official document.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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