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Home Office accused of deception over permanent residency rules

EU NATIONALS could be denied citizenship after being “caught out” by a requirement that they were not informed of during the application process, a campaign group has warned. 

Thousands of EU citizens who have spent huge sums on applications for permanent residency are in danger of rejection because they did not submit evidence of having taken out comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI). 

Earlier this month, the Home Office finally clarified that EU citizens would need to include CSI to prove that they had been in the country legally during any periods of unemployment. 

Although this has been a requirement for citizenship for some years, campaign group the3million says that people were “led to believe” that the rule was no longer in place.

Co-founder Maike Bohn said today that many organisations had been seeking answers about the CSI requirement for months. 

“It took them months and months to tell people: ‘Tough, it was always the case and we are keeping it that way’,” he told the Morning Star.

“This is deeply unfair and the silence on this really critical issue is unacceptable. People were led to believe the requirement wasn’t in place anymore.”

CSI was previously required to apply for settled status, but the rule was dropped by former PM Theresa May following widespread criticism.

Ms Bohn said that the stipulation has been used in the past to refuse about a third of residency applications by EU citizens.

EU citizen Leticia, who could be affected by the requirement, told the Independent: “I am worried that my application will now be refused because I didn’t provide evidence for something that I wasn’t asked to provide evidence for when I submitted my application.”

The 3.5 million EU citizens currently living and working in Britain can apply for settled status, which would enable them to continue living here after June 30 next year. 

But many EU nationals are seeking extra security by applying for citizenship, amid concerns that settled status may not guarantee them the right to stay in Britain indefinitely. 

To apply for citizenship, applicants must prove they have lived in this country legally for five years — or three years if married to a Briton — and fork out a whopping £1,300. 

The Home Office said that there had been no change to the guidance and that the requirement had “always been in place.”

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