Due to the separation of the UK from the European Common Market all EU families who are resident in the UK have to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled status’ using the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021.
Our Family Support and Outreach Team, based at Jubilee Children’s Centre, responded quickly to the need to support families to make their EUSS application and started EUSS sessions in early 2019. During 2020 we had a few months when the service was closed due to the pandemic lockdown but, aware of the desperate need for support, re-opened as an appointment only service in September 2020. From January 2021 we increased the number of available sessions by opening the service for two days (Monday and Wednesday) per week. These are live appointments held at the children’s centre.
Sessions are advertised within the local community and since the beginning of 2021, 136 people have attended a session. As the vast majority of those attending, speak Czech, Slovakian or Polish, we are fortunate to have two workers, Karolina and Jana, running this service who are able to speak those languages whilst also being able to complete the applications in English (English is the only language applications can be completed in). Nearly all the applications made so far have had a positive outcome with about one third being granted the ‘settled status’ and the remaining two thirds gaining ‘pre-settled status’ (they will have to gain more evidence of residency in the future).
Our support includes helping families to open an email account, telephone calls to secure ID documents as well as telephone calls to embassies and the EUSS Resolution Centre to interpret, advocate and support families with more complicated application issues. Some families have to come back several times depending on the complexity of their application. Although many applications go through without difficulty there are some for whom a decision can take weeks or months.
As well as all this good work our Family Outreach Worker, Karolina Dawidowska, who leads the EUSS sessions at Jubilee CC, has recently provided online training to a Women’s Refuge Team in another area so that they too can provide support to the women arriving in their refuge. After the training, Karolina received very positive feedback from the team.
Karoline and Jana had this to say about some of the families they had worked with through the project:
“We recently supported a big family from an EU country who moved to the UK early in 2020. The family had several children as well as grandchildren and were hoping to gain their ‘pre-settled’ status. Sadly, there are those who will take advantage of people looking for help and this family had already lost money to an unscrupulous individual who had claimed they could organise their application but did not deliver on that promise. Our service started a new application for the parents and ensured that the right documents were submitted. Both applications were successful and ‘pre-settled’ status was granted for both applicants. After this, applications were made for the rest of the family with all of them gaining ‘pre-settled’ status. The family have also been advised on what documents they need to keep for their later application for ‘settled status’. All this took multiple appointments over several weeks. The family is now more confident in looking for jobs and applying for the right support so that they can happily settle in the UK.”
“We also supported a parent who had ended up on her own in the UK with her children with no other family or friends available to help. Feeling there was no future for them in their home country the parent was hoping to gain ‘pre-settled status’. Support included organising an appointment at their home country Embassy in the UK. As the parent also lives with a significant sensory impairment, contact was also made with the Home Office who agreed to help the family with the cost of accessible travel to the Embassy as well as help to secure the correct documents. We were very pleased we could support this family in every possible way we could and will continue to do so when the documents are in place. The parent has been very happy with the support received saying that they cannot thank us enough and adding that Karolina and Jana have ‘hearts of gold’.”
If you would like help with similar settled status applications please contact Karolina on 07773 186887.