May’s government lives up to her nick-name

The government of Theresa May – or Mayhem as she’s nicknamed by UK media – has done it again. Today, news erupted that the UK Government has changed rules for EU nationals wanting to remain in the UK after the Brexit – well before its Brexit! It affects a majority of EU nationals.

According to the Independent: a briefing published by a barrister revealed that the Home Office acquired controversial new enforcement powers against EU citizens from 1 February 2017.

EU citizens who are not considered to have a “right of residence”, including some students and spouses of UK citizens, and who do not have CSI, could be deported or refused entry back into the UK if they leave. The majority of EU nationals living in the UK are entitled to use the NHS, meaning many do not have the suddenly all-important insurance.

The briefing provoked a wave of panic from European nationals residing in the UK. Dozens of people posted comments on a link to the article shared on a Facebook page for the campaign group the 3 Million.

Rightly so, for due to the sudden change, plenty European nationals currently staying in the UK will be affected. When leave and re-enter, plenty students or spouses or employees will commit a criminal act. This on top of plenty EU citizens living in the UK already feeling they are being treated as third-rate citizens and a handy bunch of UK bargaining chips while negotiating Brexit terms.

As a lawyer puts it in the Independent’s article “The position of a Polish homeless person who hasn’t committed any criminal offences or claimed public funds is exactly the same as the wife of a British banker but doesn’t have CSI, according to the regulations. They’re both equally removable as far as the Home Office is concerned.” Removable meaning deportable. The problem is, that many European citizens never bothered having CSI, as plenty EU officials informed them they did not need to.

May’s government is kindly absolved by the lawyer: “I think they’ve drawn it up without really realising the power they’ve granted themselves and the way that it’s going to make people feel …

Guess how it will feel for an innocent person studying or working in the UK, to first being told one does not need any additional insurances, remaining unaware the UK government has a change of mind per 1st of February and this change of mind only coming to light roughly one month later. To have to leave the UK for business or family or whatever perfectly reasonable reasons and becoming a criminal on re-entering.

Theresa May’s government will also “end rights given to EU nationals under freedom of movement rules when she triggers Article 50 next month, which would establish a “cut-off date” of around 15 March after which EU citizens would not be entitled to live in the UK permanently.

Meanwhile, the present UK government has not bothered to clarified the status of UK expats living in the EU either.It all seems to point at an amateurish and chaotic “dealing on the fly” with a Brexit which is still sold as a very positive thing for the UK.
Panic and confusion among EU nationals
UK’s 60 billion euro bill

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About Kate

Multilingual blogger, columnist, writer, translator. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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