Warm welcome for minister’s announcement on faster and simpler registration for resident EU nationals
Published: Tuesday 12th December 17
Council leader Ravi Govindia has welcomed the latest Government initiative to safeguard the rights of EU citizens post-Brexit after Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis today (Tuesday) announced he was introducing a measure Cllr Govindia had specifically pressed for during a meeting at the end of last month.
Earlier today Mr Lewis said he was introducing a scheme to make it much quicker and easier for EU nationals to register to remain in the UK after Brexit.
Mr Lewis said the proposed online registration scheme would take “only a couple of minutes” to complete and people would only need to answer between six and eight questions rather than wade through an 85 page document.
Brandon Lewis (centre) met Cllr Govindia (right) at Battersea Power Station last
month along with Simon Murphy its Chief Financial Officer
Cllr Govindia had urged Mr Lewis to introduce a fast and simple registration scheme when the two met in Nine Elms on November 23 for a tour of the regeneration zone that’s transforming the fortunes of that part of east Battersea.
Cllr Govindia had invited the minister to attend so that he could see for himself the massive contribution EU workers are making to the Nine Elms success story.
And during the visit the status of EU Citizens wanting to remain in the UK post-Brexit dominated the conversation.
Cllr Govindia said today: “This is excellent news for the 30,000 EU citizens who have made Wandsworth their home. I sincerely hope they remain part of our community even when the UK leaves the European Union.
“We may be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe and so we need to encourage and persuade them that their futures lie here if they do wish to stay.
“I was able to raise the issue of post-Brexit registration with the minister and the absolute necessity to make it as simple and as easy as possible, with a fast confirmation of their right to remain. I am absolutely delighted that this important message has been well received by the Government.”
Mr Lewis announced the proposals when he appeared before the House of Lords EU Justice sub-committee.
He said the aim was to establish a far simpler system for those applying for permanent residency than had previously been the case.
He added: "The way we are looking to develop this is using online processes where somebody spends literally a few minutes online and within a couple of weeks your settled status is dealt with and granted.”
The 2011 census showed that 11 per cent of the borough’s residents hold an EU passport. The largest EU population is Polish, followed by French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Councillor Govindia has repeatedly lobbied Government to make sure that the rights of these citizens are protected and for them to have their status confirmed, post-Brexit, as soon as possible.