London Mayor Sadiq Khan says landlords in the capital could discriminate against EU citizens living in the UK capital if those individuals do not apply for the EU Settlement Scheme this month.
European citizens living in the UK up to December 31 have until June 30 next year to apply to the scheme, but Khan warns that they could in the interim face discrimination if landlords fail to understand the rules, and adopt tougher tenancy criteria from January 1.
A survey conducted by New Europeans UK of 270 older and more vulnerable Europeans living in the UK who have been granted their status, revealed that 68 per cent do not know how to access or prove their eligibility for services or their right to work.
Some 80 per cent of respondents also said they had needed help with their application.
There are also 603,000 European Londoners in the capital who do not have five years’ continuous residence in the UK and will therefore have to convert their temporary pre-Settled Status to Settled Status over the coming years in order to remain in the UK.
The survey revealed that 73 per cent of respondents currently do not know when and how to do this.
Khan fears that, firstly, without government cash to increase awareness, many of the 603,000 could lose their right to live and work in the UK without realising it; and secondly he fears landlords, employers and others will adopt a more restrictive approach after January 1, thinking it is required as a result of this country’s full departure from the European Union.
“EU citizens living in London are an integral part of our city. They’re our friends, our families, our neighbours and our colleagues, and like everyone else many have faced an extraordinary difficult year dealing with COVID-19. I pleased that so many European Londoners have already applied to the EU settlement scheme, but with a month to go until the end of the transition period time is now running out” says Khan.
“So today I’m making a direct appeal to every European Londoner – make sure that you and all your eligible family and friends have applied to the settlement scheme before Christmas. If not, I fear you could be a victim of discrimination – from a landlord, a potential employer or anyone else who fails to distinguish between your rights and those of people arriving under the tougher immigration rules starting from January” he continues.
“More still needs to be done at all levels of government to ensure everyone affected has the guidance and support they need to prove their right to live, work and study in the UK. We can’t risk any more people falling victim to the hostile environment that caused devastation for some in the Windrush Generation.”