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May 17, 2022



EU citizens in the UK - many of them Roma - requesting "settled status" so they can live and work there after Brexit

6.7.2019 9:44
--ilustrační foto--
--ilustrační foto--

Czech and other EU citizens who have been living and working in Great Britain and want to continue doing so even after Brexit - many of whom are Romani - are currently applying for so-called "settled status", and according to the British Home Office, 22 % of the Czech citizens resident in the UK have applied for it. Britain is meant to leave the EU by 31 October 2019.

The status can be applied for online, including through a mobile phone application. The applicant must have lived on the territory of the United Kingdom for at least five years continuously and hold a valid travel document (passport).

For Czech citizens, their Czech state identity card is an alternative form of that identification. By the close of May, 10 000 Czech citizens had already applied for the status.

If Britain leaves the EU with a negotiated agreement, then all EU citizens must apply for "settled status" by 30 June 2021. If it leaves without concluding any agreement with the EU, that deadline will come sooner, by 31 December 2020.

"Applying for settled status was not at all complicated. I've been in Britain seven years, I'm not on benefits, I've had a job here the entire time," said Michal Gregor, a Romani man from Slovakia who lives in Peterborough as part of a community of 4 000 people from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, most of them Romani.

Petr Torák, MBE, also lives there and is doing his best to aid the community with their concerns about Brexit. "I'd like to believe that people in Peterborough have enough information," he told news server Seznam in the Czech Republic.

"I'm doing the maximum for that, mostly in my spare time. I want everybody who comes to me to get the necessary information, not just the Czechs and the Slovaks," Torák said.

"We're doing outreach not just through our web pages, Facebook, and other social media, but also through the workshops we are holding," the former police officer said. A handbook for those who want to return to the Czech Republic after Brexit - or for those who will have no choice but to return - is something that Torák has also contributed to.

That material was designed by the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs in association with the Office of the Public Defender of Rights in the Czech Republic and is called Návraty ze zahraničí ("Returns from Abroad"). While it does focus especially on future returns from Great Britain, it is designed for Czech citizens returning from living abroad anywhere.

According to the most conservative estimates, the number of Romani people from other EU countries living in Great Britain is at least 200 000, but the actual number is likely much more than that. Salford University attempted to determine the number in 2013.

The real numbers today may differ substantially from those findings. Overall the number of Romani people in Britain, including those born there, is doubtless far higher than 200 000.

As EU citizens, most of whom are from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, Romani people do not have to register their ethnicity upon arrival in the UK, just the nationality of their citizenship. It is, however, apparently even difficult to estimate the number of Czech citizens living in Great Britain.

The Czech Foreign Ministry's web pages say the number is unknown. The British Statistical Office reports that in 2017 there were 49 000 citizens of the Czech Republic living in Britain.

According to the Czech Embassy in London, however, there could be as many as 100 000 Czech nationals in the UK. On 10 April it was agreed in Brussels at a meeting of the Council of the EU that the UK's membership will cease as of 31 October at the very latest.

vhl, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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