Bishops across England and Wales are calling on Catholics to make sure their European friends, relatives and fellow parishioners are aware of the Settlement Scheme, so that they can secure their rights post-Brexit.
The government requires EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who have made their homes in the UK to apply to the Settlement Scheme online by 30th June 2021. It is estimated that around a quarter of people have not yet made an application, leaving them at risk of losing their right to live, work and access services here.
In a letter to all bishops this week Bishop Paul McAleenan, the lead bishop for migration, warned: ‘We are particularly concerned about older and vulnerable people who may struggle to navigate the process, require assistance with the online application or not even know that their status is at risk. In many cases their main point of contact with society will be through the Church.’
Bishop McAleenan asked for parishes to include the following text in their newsletter: ‘All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK are required by the government to apply through its Settlement Scheme to continue living, working and accessing services here.
‘The deadline for applications is 30th June 2021. Details and links to the application process can be found at: gov.uk/eusettledstatus.
‘Please bring this to the attention of friends, family members and fellow parishioners who may need to apply.
‘Information on assistance for those who may have difficulty applying is available at: gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme.
‘The Catholic Church in England and Wales stands in solidarity with all European citizens who have made their homes here. They are a valued part of our parishes, schools and communities.’
Picture: Archive photo, dated 28th January 2019, shows Union Jack and European Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament, London. (Jonathan Brady/PA).