A Kafkaesque experience

17. 5. 2021

čas čtení 3 minuty
UK government is warning British citizens of dual nationality, who have the right of abode in the UK, that they must register for the EU settlement scheme to be allowed to stay in Britain


Dr. Jan Čulík, editor-in-chief of this website and Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, has just received an anonymous UK government communication from  www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme, by post.

The letter, dated 11th May, 2021, says that they know Jan Čulík is an  "an EU citizen" and so he "needs  to register for the EU settlement scheme by 30th June, 2021".

The letter is signed "Office manager". There is no return address.

The problem is that while Jan Čulík is indeed a holder of an EU (Czech) passport, he is  ALSO a British citizen and has been a British passport holder for 36  years. He received his  UK Certificate of Naturalisation in 1985. His UK passport says:


Right of Abode
This passport is proof that the holder has the right of abode in the UK if the holder's nationality is shown as British citizen or the passport has an observation that the holder has the right of abode in the UK.

The passport does say that Jan Čulík is a British citizen.

 


Jan Čulík has just learned from the Brexit correspondent of a leading UK daily newspaper that a number of EU citizens resident in the UK have received such letters.

The letter does say on page 2 that "if you are a British national, you do not need to apply for a status and can ignore this letter". Well, the correct designation is "British citizen", and - if Jan Čulík does not need to apply, why send him the letter at all?

Jan Čulík has been trying to contact whoever has sent him this letter. The letter lists a helpline, which,  however, is inaccessible - when you phone the number, you get an automated message saying that the number is so overwhelmed with queries that they can no longer put you into a queue. Then the line cuts off.

He has  also tried to contact whoever sent him this letter by accessing the website www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme. It is also impossible to contact them there because they only allow the user to ask about a set of pre-determined questions which are irrelevant to this case. There is no way of contacting them to alert them to errors.

Jan Čulík has written to his MP in the House of Commons to ask the UK authorities to confirm that this is an error. The MPs office has confirmed that they have requested this and will let him know what happens.

Considering what incredible mess the UK government has made of the Windrush scandal (when people  from the West Indies were invited by the UK government in the 1950s to come to the UK, and then recently some of them were, after many decades of life in the UK deported) and  considering the fact that UK immigration are now detaining and deporting  EU citizens arriving in the UK, only because they come for a job interview, which they are fully entitled legally to do,

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/may/13/eu-citizens-arriving-in-uk-being-locked-up-and-expelled

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/may/14/hostile-uk-border-regime-traumatises-visitors-from-eu

this seems to be  a worrying development.

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Obsah vydání | 20. 5. 2021