We were invited to Special Camden Council Meeting on Brexit on the 23rd October 2017. It was an opportunity for us to raise issues that EU communities are facing in this uncertain time. We talked about lack of awareness among EU nationals about their rights and about sources of reliable support when things go wrong. We mentioned that lack of information about future status of EU citizens in the UK makes it even more difficult for them to understand their options. This confusing situation also opens door for labour exploitation.
Moreover, due to rise in number of hate crimes, many EU nationals do not feel welcome in the UK. Increased questioning by some employers and landlords who want to know if the candidates are already permanent residents amplifies this notion even though it should not be taking place.
We also talked about the pressure this situation puts on third sector support and advice services. Demand for our migration advice increased by 734% after the Brexit vote. We expect similar increase when EU nationals will start applying for a settled status. Considering the fact that the government says that e.g. job-seekers may not be eligible, it may not be as straightforward process at it is being painted now.
We asked Camden council to work with the third sector to support EU nationals living and working in that borough e.g. by organising information events and providing reliable information on its website. We also suggested that Camden council should use this opportunity to promote civil engagement and political involvement among EU citizens living in the borough. Many councillors declared their support for our ideas.
Webcast from the meeting https://camden.public-i.tv/core/portal/home