CAMPAIGN RESOURCE CENTRE
Write to your MEP: Settled Status is NOT the answer!
the3million is asking EU27 citizens in the UK and their British spouses, family members, friends etc. to write to their Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from their EU country of origin to reject settled status and express the opinion that there hasn't been sufficient progress in the negotiations on citizens' rights.
This is important because MEPs will vote on a resolution about sufficient progress next week.
Please personalise the template below as much as you want to - the more personal the better.
We also included a second template should you want to write your MP or members of the House of Lords too.
We strongly encourage you to post a letter to MEPs, as we have been advised that it is is more effective. However, given the timeline of the upcoming 'sufficient progress' decision, it would be ideal if you could email them, tweet to them and then also send a physical copy in the post.
The address is:
To find your MEP's email address, please open this Google spreadsheet (courtesy of British in Europe).
Once written, don't forget to tweet the MEP with an image of your letter (without your details) under the hashtag #peopleB4politics
The list of MEPs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/europarl_en/lists/all-meps-on-twitter
TEMPLATE LETTER - EU27 MEP
Dear XY MEP,
I am a [INSERT YOUR NATIONALITY] national, and I have lived in the UK for X years. I am writing to you as one of my MEPs because after 18 months of living in limbo since the Brexit referendum I am extremely concerned about what will happen to me and my family and I find myself unable to plan for the future. [YOU CAN INSERT A BIT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION HERE]
We were reassured by Mrs May and Michel Barnier that nothing would change for us and that we could go on living as we always have. This does not appear to be the case. After Brexit, we will be stripped of our existing EU rights and be considered ‘illegal’. In order to ‘regularise’ our situation we will be required to apply to the Home Office for a lesser UK immigration status. As things stand, this will entail:
That we will be subjected to the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ – for example potentially losing our job, our driving licence, having our bank account frozen, losing our access to healthcare and having our appeal rights severely limited - if for any reason, even as a result of the Home Office’s own inefficiency and errors, our application is rejected or if we are deemed to be ineligible to be granted residence rights after Brexit.
That we will no longer have the protection of the European Court of Justice in case the UK courts misinterpret EU law, or of appealing directly to EU law in case future governments change UK immigration law.
That disabled people, carers and many others have still not been given any certainty whatsoever that their residence rights and access to healthcare will be protected post Brexit.
That we will all be subjected to systematic criminality checks and to far stricter criminality tests under UK immigration after Brexit rather than under EU law.
That it is unlikely that our loved ones, especially elderly dependents in need of care, will be able to come and live with us after Brexit.
That we are likely to lose our status if we leave the UK for longer than two years.
The European Parliament has made defending citizens’ rights its topmost priority in the Brexit negotiations. This has been very reassuring to me and I commend you and your fellow MEPs for taking this stance. However, I understand that the pressure on both sides of the Channel for moving onto Phase 2 of the talks is very high. I fear this may lead both the UK and the EU to compromise on any outstanding issues on citizens’ rights ahead of the next European Council meeting when the EU 27 will judge whether ‘sufficient progress’ has been made.
I therefore call on you and all MEPs to stand firm on citizens’ rights at this critical time. I ask you to let the European Commission and the Member States know that you will not support any last-minute political compromises where progress falling well short of protecting our rights is considered ‘sufficient’ just so that discussions on trade can begin. If this is not the case, I/my family [AS APPROPRIATE] will be directly impacted along with other 5 million citizens on both sides of the Channel whose lives have been put on hold by Brexit.
the3milion recently wrote to the head of government of all EU27 countries. If you want to, you can download and attach the appropriate letter below (translated where we were able to do so):
TEMPLATE LETTER - MP or member of the House of Lords
I am writing to you as a a [INSERT YOUR NATIONALITY] national, and I have lived in the UK for X years.
As you know, the British government has offered EU citizens in the UK a new status called 'settled status' which the3million categorically rejects.
I am concerned that most people in the UK think that 'settled status' is acceptable, that EU citizens currently in the UK will be fine, and that the negotiations on citizens' rights are within 'touching distance'. Who would not like the idea of being ‘settled’ indeed?
As an EU citizen, the reason I am opposed to ‘settled status’ is that we will be stripped of our existing EU rights and be considered 'illegal'. In order to 'regularise' our situation we will be required to apply to the Home Office for a lesser UK immigration status. the3million have come up with a viable alternative proposal, which we would urge you to read.
1. Having to apply for a status:
Under the current system, I can ask for a document simply certifying my status. If for any reason the Home Office decides that document cannot be given to me, my current rights are unaffected and I can try again.
Under the proposed system, I have to apply for my rights and an application for ‘settled status’ can be rejected with potentially dire consequences. Indeed, the conditions attached to the application for ‘settled status’ involve, among other things, systematic criminality and conduct checks, and a test of lawful residence. If I fail to meet the conditions or I am the victim of process errors, I will then become an illegal immigrant instantly, feeling the full force of the 'hostile environment' towards foreign nationals that has been implemented since 2012 by the Home Office.
In practice, this means potentially losing my employment and my access to healthcare, experiencing enormous difficulties accessing housing and the freezing of bank accounts, as well as my driving licence being taken away. Very recently, the immigration minister Brandon Lewis confirmed to Yvette Cooper MP in the Home Affairs Select Committee that "it was possible that somebody wrongly identified as an illegal immigrant could find their bank account frozen for up to 12 months while they appealed through the courts".
The Home Office's 10% error rate, the current 29% rejection rate of Permanent Residence applications, the 40% of successful appeals against the Home Office (which can take as long as a year), and the unprecedented task of registering three million people in an extremely short timescale, means that the proposed 'settled status' is a totally unacceptable solution which will lead to enormous misery for thousands of people, many of them amongst the most vulnerable population. Moreover, disabled people, carers and many others have still not been given any certainty whatsoever that their residence rights and access to healthcare will be protected post Brexit.
2. The proposed UK immigration status is a lesser status
I will have fewer rights; for example, I will not be able to bring an elderly, dependent parent from the EU to the UK in future (nor will a British citizen in the EU be easily able to move back to the UK with a non-British partner).
We are likely to lose our status if we leave the UK for longer than two years – something we may be forced to do if one of my parents needs my care.
There is no guarantee that the rules will not change in my lifetime without an international treaty and the protection from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Without these safeguards, it is possible that my existing rights could be retrospectively removed or reduced.
3. An Alternative Proposal:
Together with UK Immigration lawyers, and EU law academics, the3million have put together a viable alternative proposal, which I strongly believe to be the only viable way of protecting the rights of the finite group of EU citizens currently living in the UK. I would ask that you please take a look and urgently help raise its visibility in the UK government.
Please take a look at the following very short documents:
https://bit.ly/t3m_AlternativeProposal1page – a summary of the Alternative Proposal.
https://bit.ly/t3m_SettledStatusScenario - a composite scenario about what could happen to a couple, Pierre and Sophia, under 'Settled Status'. I would urge you to read this, and though it is fictional, we could send you many articles about how all the component aspects currently happen on a daily basis to non-EEA citizens.
The danger of ‘settled status’ failing EU citizens is high and I, like many other EU citizens, will be looking to you, as [my MP][a member of the House of Lords]/, to protect my rights and my life in the UK. I really think that it is best to realise and address now the flaws and the resulting difficulties attached to ‘settled status’, as a status and as a process.
For further information, I would recommend the following documents, all available at this address: www.the3million.org/publications:
https://bit.ly/t3m_AlternativeProposal - full detail of the Alternative Proposal
https://bit.ly/t3m_QandASettledStatus - detailed Q&A of why Settled Status is wrong
https://bit.ly/t3m_TechnicalNote - the3million’s response to the Technical Note which the UK Government provided to the EU on administration of the proposed Settled Status
the3million works very closely with British in Europe to campaign for the post-Brexit rights of EU citizens currently in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. Since March this year, we have met with Michel Barnier twice, and had multiple meetings with the European Commission TaskForce 50, the European Parliament and European Council. We have been consulted and debriefed after every round of negotiations, and have published joint responses at every stage.