Opinion: We stand in support of our all our EU citizens

Cllr Jonathan Simpson and Camden Council will support residents against the damage a no-deal Brexit

Cllr Jonathan Simpson and Camden Council will support residents against the damage a no-deal Brexit could cause. - Credit: PressOffice [PressOffice@camden.gov.uk]

I couldn’t have been prouder of Camden residents who came to the Defend Democracy Protest in Russell Square this last weekend.

The message from all the cross-party speakers was loud and clear - the government is riding roughshod over democracy to prevent any debate of a no-deal Brexit. It's astonishing that any government would want to ignore all the business, academic and expert advice on the potential damage that a no-deal Brexit would cause. The prorogation shows contempt for the values that have built Britain.

Camden is an open, welcoming borough where we value diversity, equality and inclusion - and we want to reassure our residents that we will continue to value everyone's contribution to our borough.

If you are an EU citizen, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you need to register by December 31, 2020 in order to stay and keep your rights. You can register at gov.uk/brexit

It is perverse that the government is expecting citizens who have lived in the UK for decades to apply through this scheme - but I would encourage people not to ignore it.

We are here to help. We have produced a video guiding residents through the application process, which you can view at camden.gov.uk/brexit. We can advise on agencies and partners who can provide advice and support with your application and we're also offering a free ID verification service.

We're encouraged that as of June year, over 8,000 EU citizens in Camden had applied for settled status.

However, we are also really concerned by national reports that some British EU Citizens have been denied settled status through this process. Sky News captured the painful story of a Portuguese woman who has lived in the UK for over 20 years but now fears deportation after October 31. Her words speak of the anguish and abandonment she feels: "I've looked after your children, I've looked after the elderly in this country - and now you kick me out, with what?" It's truly heart-breaking.

If you have had your application declined, please let us know. We've held several advice sessions for EU citizens already and have more planned at our libraries throughout the borough. We stand will all our EU citizens. The government must not make you the next Windrush scandal.

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We are getting prepared for October 31 come what may. We are aware of the likely risks and are doing what we can within our power to limit the damage.

We have been monitoring our workforce data closely, which has remained broadly consistent since 2012. However, we think there's a risk that some businesses will not be aware of what regulatory, legal and operational changes there will be in the event of a no-deal scenario.

We also remain in discussions with key partners on this and other issues including border disruption, supplies to schools and community tensions.

We will do all we can to support residents against the damage a no-deal Brexit could cause.