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Northumbria migration expert discusses citizens’ rights in the wake of Brexit

28th April 2020

Northumbria University’s Professor Tanja Bueltmann will discuss her latest research findings during the first webinar of the newly formed EU-UK Friendship Group, taking place today.

Entitled ‘The impact of Brexit on citizens’ rights in the UK and the EU’, the webinar will feature members of citizens’ organisations, academics, and members of the European Parliament.

The aim is to explore ways to ensure citizens’ rights are protected following the UK’s exit from the European Union earlier this year.

Professor of Migration History Tanja Bueltmann will discuss the results of her Settled Status Survey – in which more than 3,000 EU citizens living in the UK detailed their experiences of applying for Settled Status.

Her research was carried out in collaboration with the3million, which represents the rights of more than 3 million EU citizens at home in the UK.

The data collected identifies key concerns of those having to apply for Settled Status, ranging from discrimination and loss of identity, to a breakdown of trust in the UK government’s willingness and ability to deliver a secure status for the future.

The European Parliament has made it clear that protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of British citizens in the EU post-Brexit remains a key priority.

While citizens’ rights are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, many questions remain and there is a high level of uncertainty as to the effective protection of these rights, as well as their safeguarding in the negotiations on the future UK/EU relationship.

These questions will be discussed during today’s webinar which also will feature Kuba Jablonowski, of the3million; and Jane Golding, from British in Europe.

It has been organised by the EU-UK Friendship Group, which was established following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by four Members of the European Parliament – Katarina Barley, Nathalie Loiseau, Terry Reintke and Radosław Sikorsk.

The group is open to all MEPs and former British MEPs and dedicated to maintaining strong links between citizens both from the EU and the UK.

Caption:Professor Tanja BueltmannSpeaking ahead of the webinar, Professor Bueltmann said: Now that Brexit has happened, I am delighted to see that MEPs have come together to set up the EU-UK Friendship group and that the protection of citizens’ rights lies very much at the core of activities.

“I had already presented the findings of the Settled Status Survey to the group’s founder, Terry Reintke, in Brussels in January, but to be able to present them officially and to a wider group is very welcome.

“This webinar will provide a means to explore issues and discuss pathways forward. Based on my research and findings from the Settled Status Survey, the associations of EU citizens in the UK and British in Europe have been vital in the fight for the protection of citizens’ rights, so I am particularly pleased to see their ongoing involvement. It will be vital for years to come.”

The webinar takes place 2pm – 3.30pm BST (3pm – 4.30pm CET) – find out more here.

During the event, Professor Bueltmann will discuss the three main issues she and the3million uncovered through their Settled Status Survey:

  1. Knowing about the status: there are concerns about people who do not know they need to apply; if they fail to do so before the deadline, they will become unlawful overnight.
  2. Getting the right status: there are concerns about whether applicants always get the right status; stories from last year indicate that too many get so-called pre-Settled Status incorrectly.
  3. Using the status: there are concerns about the scheme being digital-only; this was the main issue highlighted by the Survey – people need a physical document.
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