Phiane's Story | “Not having physical proof of status has lost me a job opportunity”

Updated: Mar 3

Join our campaign to fix the digital status

“I’ve been in the UK for 20 years, it’s my home. When I first came here, I was welcomed and valued. Now, although I have settled status, I’m being treated differently.

I’ve been through a hard time recently, I’ve had to change jobs to work for another hospital, and the mistrust I’ve faced has made me feel like I don’t belong here anymore. My rights are questioned at every step and I have to prove them over and over again.

This is difficult because no one seems to understand the digital status we have. All the administration workers want to see a physical document and I have to explain the whole EU Settlement Scheme to them. It’s taken a prospective employer a month and a half to check my right to work. It really shouldn’t be this difficult. This has affected my mental health, being in limbo between jobs.

It’s even more difficult for people like me who aren’t white. When I’m being asked to prove my right to be here, at the job centre and when trying to access benefits, I can’t help but feel people are even more distrusting of me because of the colour of my skin.

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been a key worker, on the frontline, unable to work from home, enabling our NHS to support our community. Despite this, when in need, I’ve been faced by a hostile environment. It’s made me feel alone in my struggles.

It would make me so much more secure in my rights if I had a physical document to prove my status. I hope the government does the right thing and provides us with the peace of mind we need.”

Phiane is a French citizen living in London.

Join our campaign to fix the digital status and provide EU citizens with a physical backup of our immigration status