With concerns growing around the settled status of EU citizens living in Cambridge and national politics apparently no nearer reaching a resolution, Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council has taken the positive step of writing to offer the council’s full support and outline the help available.
Commenting on his letter, Cllr Herbert said;
“As Leader of Cambridge City Council, I have written to residents across the city who came from to live and work in Cambridge from EU countries, some decades ago, to offer our support and advice. They are our people and our residents and we owe it to them to offer help so they can secure their status here.
“With the Government and Parliament taking such a long while to sort out our future relations with Europe, it is even more important that we help those of our city residents and neighbours who have retained their nationality from other EU countries.
“It’s a real shame the Conservative Government have added to the pressures on non-UK EU citizens with such a complicated system of Settled Status and Pre-Settled applications when a fairer, less onerous registration system would have worked better and fairer.
The City Council will continue to monitor Home Office applications and approvals to check that our non-UK EU citizens get the outcome they want and deserve.”
Labour councillors and activists joined in Saturday’s People’s Vote march, adding their voices to calls for a second referendum on Brexit and sending a clear message that EU residents are an integral part of Cambridge and its community. They were joined on the historic march by Daniel Zeichner MP, who echoed Cambridge Labour’s positive message;
“So many EU citizens living in Cambridge have told me about problems they’ve had when applying for Settled Status, and how the Conservative government have lumped hundreds of people in a “too hard” category of pre-settled status giving no certainty or end to the heartache. But our united message from this city is we love having you here and want you to stay.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Cambridge welcomes people from all over the world and values the huge contribution they make to our community. As the local authority for our city, we are seeking to understand the implications for our community of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. People from other European Union countries living in Cambridge are Cambridge people every bit as much as neighbours who have lived here all their lives. And we’re here for you, particularly at this time.
We are also seeking to ensure that information about preparations is as fully shared as possible so that we and, where appropriate, the Government, understand the particular issues which are likely to have an impact on our city.
This letter sets out some of the key steps the Government recommends you should be taking as an EU resident living in Cambridge. In the meantime, I encourage you to apply for pre-settled or settled status as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. Settled status or pre-settled status will ensure your continued right to live in the United Kingdom.
You can find more information about how you should prepare for Brexit on the Government’s website at www.gov.uk/brexit
Apply for settled or pre-settled status
If you are a citizen from a European Union, European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) member country or Switzerland, you and your family can apply now for the Government’s settled or pre-settled status scheme at no cost. Find out more at www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/what-settled-and-presettled-status-means
You can find out further information and make your application through the Government website at www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus
If you need help making your application
Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can help with advice on whether you are entitled to settled status. If you are, they can explain how you can do this yourself by down loading the Government app to your smart phone and explain what documents you need to verify who you are e.g. passport.
If you are not able to do this yourself they will explain who locally can help you through the process (see also information about Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and Cambridge Online, below).
You can get help from Cambridge CAB through their daily drop-in sessions at the main office (66 Devonshire Road) 9-12.30 Monday – Thursday and 9-12 Friday or at one of their 6 City based outreaches – see www.cambridgecab.org.uk/help-advice/get-advice
Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum (CECF) can provide assisted digital support for people needing help with an application for EU Settled Status through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Please note that this is by appointment only. People can book an appointment by calling We-Are-Digital on 03333 44 5675.
Please note that CECF cannot provide immigration advice on any EEA applications however they work in partnership with Elm Rose Consultancy who can. They are a Level 3 OISC accredited immigration business, based in Cambridge, providing the highest level of advice and assistance on all types of immigration matters including family visas, work visas, sponsorship licences, human rights applications, and EEA applications. An appointment can be booked at CECF’s premises with Elm Rose Consultancy by calling 020 7112 8528.
Local charity Cambridge Online is also able to help people through the Government’s EU SS assisted digital project, a service for people needing digital help for EU SS. As with the support offered by CECF, people wanting this help must phone the co-ordinating organisation (We-are-Digital) on 03333 44 5675 to arrange an appointment with Cambridge Online.
Cambridge Online is not able to provide advice or guidance, but just to help people through the digital process.
Ensure your employer is aware
If you are in work, you should encourage your employer to promote the Government’s Settled/ Pre-Settled Status scheme to all staff. Please also tell any friends, neighbours or family members who might be affected.
I hope this information is helpful.
Councillor Lewis Herbert
Leader, Cambridge City Council