Supporting EU nationals
Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Turner left the meeting for the debate and decision on this motion.
Councillor Garden, seconded by Councillor Gotch, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.
After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.
Council resolved to adopt the following motion:
Council notes that EU nationals are part of our shared communities. They are our husbands, wives, parents, friends and colleagues. They are an integral part of a vibrant and thriving Oxfordshire.
Since 2016 EU nationals were promised again and again that "there will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK and […] will be treated no less favourably as they are at present”.
After three years of living in limbo, their homes and livelihoods are yet again being threatened by the further uncertainty brought about by the prospect of an even more chaotic no-deal Brexit.
According to the Home Office’s June statistics, only a third of EU nationals have applied for the Settled Status and 42% of them have been granted the inferior Pre-Settled status leading them to reapply for the Settled status later on. There is no possibility to know how many EU nationals need to apply, leaving vulnerable and unaware EU nationals left at risk of becoming unlawful residents at the mercy of the Home Office’s Hostile Environment. Lack of clarity regarding differentiating between EU citizens arriving before and after the UK’s exit from the EU will likely lead to discrimination in the labour market and will prevent many from accessing the services that they are entitled to.
Another Windrush-like scandal is unfolding right before the eyes of this Council and we mustn’t be passive observers to it.
Therefore, the Council asks that:
1. Officers undertake an urgent review of how a disorderly exit from the EU is likely to affect EU nationals accessing services provided by the Council (licensing, benefits etc).
2. Officers report on how the Council can mitigate adverse impacts on the rights of EU nationals (including but not limited to advising on what the Council can do to help landlords and employers to be trained on immigration status and therefore avoid potential discrimination against EU nationals).
3. The Leader of the Council writes to the Home Secretary to ask that the current European Settlement Scheme is clarified by:
a. Providing a clear deadline for application to the EUSS in case of no-deal exit from the EU.
b. Providing those with settled status with physical proof that can be used to access services.
c. Confirming that there will be no changes to the rights of settled EU citizens that they currently have by ratifying the Immigration Bill as primary legislation before the exit day.
d. Replacing the current European Settlement scheme with a registration scheme without a deadline where EU citizens are considered legally settled by default and can request a proof of immigration status only when they are asked to demonstrate it.
Publication date: 17/10/2019
Date of decision: 07/10/2019
Decided at meeting: 07/10/2019 - Council