New advice service for EU residents

Published: Thursday 23rd November 17

A new advice service has been set up for EU Nationals living in Wandsworth who are concerned about Brexit, as the council leader continues lobbying Government for their rights to be protected.

Advisor Kasia

The telephone, email and drop-in service is being provided by Citizens Advice Wandsworth on behalf of the council. Kasia Zagrodniczek will be advising worried Wandsworth residents about their rights.

Kasia said: “People are not sure what’s going to happen to them post-Brexit. Many are concerned about their status, especially people who live here with their families and have kids at school. They want to know how they can secure their status after Brexit and secure permanent residency.

“Citizens Advice Wandsworth is here to advise on issues like benefits, pensions and discrimination and through this dedicated EU advice service we’ll work to provide this advice in European languages.  I’m keen to hear from anyone with language skills who is willing to volunteer.”

Kasia is based at Citizens Advice Wandsworth in Battersea library. Get in touch with her by emailing euadviceservice@cawandsworth.org. You can also find out more at https://cawandsworth.org/advice-eu-citizens-wandsworth/

If you speak an EU language and would like to volunteer email volunteering@cawandsworth.org.  New volunteers will start their training in January.

The new service is the latest in a range of measures the council has taken to protect the rights of EU Nationals living in the borough. A significant proportion of the borough’s residents hold an EU passport. UK-wide Poland is the most common non-UK country of birth.

This week the leader of the council Ravi Govindia submitted evidence to a government inquiry to look at how local authorities should be involved in the negotiation process.

In the submission Cllr Govindia stressed the need for EU citizens living in the UK to have their status confirmed as soon as possible, and argued that the Government needs to recognise their contribution to London’s economy.

He said: “We are a borough that is home to more than 26,000 EU nationals – a figure which has grown every year. For us they are first and foremost Wandsworth citizens. We also see ourselves as the future of London with Nine Elms set to be one of the main contributors of London’s economic growth.

“The contribution of citizens from the EU to London’s current and future success cannot be over-estimated and is the reason why councils like Wandsworth deserve to have a say in the negotiation process.”

He also argued that arrangements should be put in place so that local authorities can continue to access funds to support investment and growth. He said: “More than £10 billion has been allocated between 2014-20 to local authorities and devolved administrations in the UK from the EU Structural Investment Fund. Guarantees are required to protect investment in local regeneration plans, flagship infrastructure projects and employment and skills schemes.”

In September Cllr Govindia co-signed a letter to EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, along with the leaders of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea councils, calling on him to focus his attention on securing the rights of the Capital’s resident EU nationals.

And in July Cllr Govindia wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in July when he urged her and her Brexit negotiators to priorities this issue in their negotiations. Read the letters.

The council also offers a European Passport Return Service so that European nationals living in Wandsworth can keep hold of their passports when applying to the Home Office for a registration certificate or a document certifying permanent residence. Find out more

For more information about the different types of support available visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/eusupport.

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Recent comments

Until the EU stop obstructing talks no one knows what the result will be despite the governments early offer on this subject. I am shocked that Wandsworth council seems intent on undermining the government's duty to deliver the democratic will of the people. Plainly Cllr Govindia does not believe in democracy, but does not have the courage to resign and offer himself for re-election on an anti democracy ticket. There are more than enough problems that should be dealt with. This absurd, petty grandstanding.
Michael Wood

24 November 2017