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Leeds EUSS update

4 March 2020 (by David Brayshaw (D.Brayshaw))

The UK left the EU on the 31st January 2020. This means that the Withdrawal (which has been ratified by the UK and EU Parliaments) came into force as well on the 31st January. This means that we avoided a No-Deal situation and that we have entered the ‘Transition Period’ (or the implementation period).

Immediate impact is political

Since the 1st February, the UK is no longer represented in the EU institutions and do no longer take part in EU decision making (except for fisheries matter where the UK will still be consulted.

Transition Period: EU rules continue to apply

The Transition Period translated as a bridging period while the UK and the EU negotiate a new relationship. It will last until the end of the 31st December 2020.

During the transition period nearly all EU rules will continue to apply to the UK. The UK will still be part of the EU single market and customs union. Existing ‘Freedom of Movement’ right will continue to apply.

This means that EU nationals continue to have the same rights as they currently do in terms of travel, employment, health, benefit and housing.

However, they should work toward securing a new immigration status if they want to continue to live in the UK after the end of the Transition period (an additional 6 months grace period is provided to residents already residing in the UK by 31st December 2020). A new immigration system will be implemented on the 01st January 2021.

EU Settlement scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme aims to provide a new immigration status to those who came to the UK through EU Freedom of movement.

This includes EU nationals (27 member states), EEA (Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein), EFTA (Switzerland) and Third Country nationals who are family members of an EU nationals.

The application is digital and applicants will need a biometric ID document (either ID or Passport, or a biometric residency card for non-EU family members). Applicants will also need a valid mobile number, email address and their National Insurance Number (optional but, advised).

They may also need to upload evidence of residency. Please find further information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-uk-residence

Applicants have until 30th June 2021 to apply to the scheme.

Home Office EUSS communication tools

The Home Office recently published some updated communication tools that can help you engage with your community/EU staff. Please find some useful links below:

Factsheet

Leaflet

Community groups intro

Community groups toolkit

Employer toolkit

Template: employers letter to employee

You can find further information on Gov.uk

Leeds City Council approach

Leeds City Council as a compassionate City has been proactive and taken a number of steps to support residents who may need to apply to EU settlement scheme. Early step were taken in 2018 to support the organisation of 2 Home Office Community Outreach pilot events. We have also worked closely with schools by delivering briefings to Head teachers of Schools and supporting community outreach events in schools with high numbers of EU students.

Information on the EUSS Settlement Scheme is also available on Leeds City Council website: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/brexit

Support available in 5 Community Hubs

Leeds City Council is offering support in 5 different Community Hubs across the city (Please find attached a digital version of our EUSS booklet).

Each community hub provides ID Scanning and Digital Assistance, for people with no access to IT or with limited IT skills. The Council do not provide immigration advice, however we can signpost vulnerable residents to the relevant OISC registered organisation able to help complex cases.

Community Outreach events

Leeds City Council has also allocated a grant pot that has been used to fund 6 local organisations to do some outreach awareness raising activities across the city. Please find attached for information a copy of the calendar of events.

EUSS and Windrush

Please note that EU nationals who have settled in the UK before October 1988, may be eligible for residency under the Windrush scheme. We are currently working with the Home Office to organise a joint EUSS and Windrush drop in event in Leeds. We will send an update closer to the date.

Managing Potential Community Tensions:

The Council is working closely in partnership with the West Yorkshire Police to make sure we have a proactive approach to monitor and prevent escalation of community tensions in Leeds.  The Police partnership portal is being used to enable services, communities and voluntary sector organisations to report on any potential areas of concern and to enable services to work together on community cohesion. To sign up to use the portal contact WYP: https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/partnership-intelligence-portal; or contact Bash Uppal (Baksho.uppal@leeds.gov.uk)  in Leeds City Council if you would like to know more about this initiative.

For further information or if you would like to signpost people to this network to receive updates, please contact: Henriette.mahamane@leeds.gov.uk