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95-year-old told to prove residency despite living in Britain for 68 years

A 95-YEAR-OLD Italian man has been asked to prove that he is a long-term resident of Britain to be allowed to remain in the country after Brexit, it emerged today.

Antonio Finelli came here in 1952 after the government issued an appeal for immigrant labour in the wake of World War II. 

He has lived here ever since and has received a state pension for the past 32 years. 

Nonetheless, when Mr Finelli registered for post-Brexit settled status, he was asked to hand over 80 bank statements to prove that he has been resident in this country for five consecutive years, as the Home Office had no record of him. 

Mr Finelli, whose wife and only son have passed away, told the Guardian that he didn’t think the process was “fair” and that he fears for the status of his grandchildren. 

“I’ve been receiving the pension and working all my life, so I don’t understand why I have to provide these bank statements,” he said.

The case highlights concerns that elderly EU citizens could struggle to cope with the settled status application, which all EU and EEA citizens need to complete by June 2021.

Dimitri Scarlato, a volunteer at the Inca CGIL advice centre for Italian citizens visited by Mr Finelli, said the ordeal of finding and gathering documents is causing huge stress and anxiety.

Mr Scarlato said that he had seen more than 100 similar applications in which elderly EU citizens had been told that there was no record of them on the system.

This could be the result of the DWP failing to digitalise all its old records, he warned. 

“Mr Finelli will be fine because he has come to the centre, but what if you are living alone and vulnerable or in the middle of nowhere and don’t know where to go?” Mr Scarlato said.

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