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Some EU nationals lose their rights in transition to ‘digital document’

A STATUTORY Instrument that came into effect in April prevents migrants in the UK using their physical biometric residence permit or card to prove their "lawful status" to rent or work. Now they have to use their fiddly digital "Share Code" to prove they have a right to work or rent property in the UK.


The Union nightclub, Vauxhall SW1

We have heard of cases where those applying for EU Settled Status have had to undergo what they thought was a routine update of their residence permit to a digital document - only to find it was a process that was far from routine.

Award-winning freelance journalist Dahaba Hussen, for example, came to live in the UK as a child. She applied for EU Settled Status with her Dutch passport back in 2019 and was told 18 months later that her application had been rejected.

She re-applied in April 2021 - and this second application got caught up in the backlog of applications ahead of the June 2021 deadline for Settled Status, leading to further delays. By this time, some "gaps" had apparently appeared in her work and residence history in the UK - one when she was a student and one when she was caring for her mother during a covid lockdown.. This affected her eligibility for Settled Status in the UK.

Up to that point, Dahaba had depended on the physical residence permit in her passport as evidence that she could work in the UK. But during the long delay in the Home Office processing her second EU Settled Status application the Statutory Instrument came into effect and invalidated her physical residence permit. Her client cancelled her shifts, leaving her destitute and unable to pay rent.

Dahaba's second EU Settled Status application was rejected in May. She immediately applied again. She was finally granted Settled Status on 24 May. She said that what helped her case considerably was that she "created a national media storm, and the pressure on the Home Office increased, with journalists contacting their news desk asking for details."

There's a guide to troubleshooting hassles around accessing the Share Code digital system to prove Settled Status here.

A high proportion of rejections of Settled Status applications are overturned on "administrative review" or appeal. There's a guide to what to do if you Settled Status application is rejected here.

Deportations loom

The Guardian reports that some Italian nationals are facing deportation post-Brexit. These include Dante Bulanti, who is still recovering from covid. He missed the deadline to apply for EU Settled Status because he was stranded in isolation - and later fell under a travel ban in Italy during a covid lockdown.