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GOVERNMENT officials have been warned that plans to register 3.5 million EU citizens living in Britain post-Brexit may result in another Windrush scandal.
Critics have urged the government, which launches its first public test scheme today, to behave professionally with its registration to offer EU nationals “settled status.”
The settlement scheme seeks to register all EU nationals who want to remain in Britain after June 2021, and includes a website and phone app which allows EU nationals to register themselves with biometric residence cards.
Civil servants are predicting that an estimated 6,000 applications a day will be processed, with 1,500 caseworkers deployed to the scheme and a further 400 working in a “resolution centre” to solve specific issues.
The test run is ahead of a full launch expected in April.
The price of the application for settled status is £65 for adults and £32.50 for children, although people with permanent residence permits face no extra charge.
In a previous trial of 30,000 EU citizens in specific professional roles, more than two-thirds of applicants were approved in 72 hours and 81 per cent within a working week.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said that EU migrants can rest assured that the government is “well on track” to delivering an “easy and straightforward” status system.
However, organisations representing such EU citizens fear that the government may disregard their civil rights.
A survey conducted by EU citizen pressure group The3Million revealed that many EU citizens were suspicious of the government taking away their rights and that trust in the government’s behaviour is at rock bottom.
Maike Bohn, who founded The3Million, said: “The Windrush people trusted the Home Office and many of them got deported because they were citizens but couldn’t prove it.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “It will be simple and straightforward for EU citizens to get the status they need.
“They will only need to complete three key steps: prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.”
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