Brexit: MEPs concerned over EU citizens’ registration process
MEPs sent a letter to UK Secretary of State raising concerns about the online application system to register the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.
The EP Brexit Steering Group and MEPs from five committees in charge of citizens' rights met with representatives of the UK Home Office last Tuesday.
In the letter to the Home Office Secretary of State Sajid Javid, Members suggest that particular attention should be paid to vulnerable groups. They recommend that citizens should be able to register in paper format and that there should be a network of contact points across the country where passports can be scanned in a secure environment.
MEPs recommend that all citizens should be able to access the application system, including ID scanning (for older passports, children that need biometric passports, users of IOS operating system). The procedure should avoid passports being sent in the post. It should include an option to register members of the same family together on one form. Full compliance with EU data protection regulations should be ensured, they add.
Guy Verhofstadt, EP Brexit coordinator
"In a spirit of collaboration, MEP's have today set out a number of proposals in order to ensure the registration of EU citizens in the UK is dealt with in an efficient, flexible, timely and sensitive manner. In light of the Windrush scandal and given the large numbers of citizens affected, both the EU and the UK must work together to get this right.”
“It is important that the registration process should, as a matter of principle, be cost-free for applicants. It is unacceptable that citizens who were never consulted on Brexit should have to pay large fees to retain their own rights."
"The registration system must be responsive, proportionate and cater for vulnerable groups and those who do not use digital devices.”
"We look forward to knowing more about how the independent authority overseeing the system will operate, what its competence will be and how its independence will be ensured. ”
“It remains a priority for the European Parliament to ensure that citizens, whether the UK citizens in the EU or EU citizens in the UK, can continue to lead their lives as they do now.”
The committees involved in the talks are those dealing with constitutional affairs, civil liberties, employment and social affairs, legal affairs and petitions.
In March, the Plenary adopted a resolution laying out a possible association framework for future EU-UK relations after Brexit. On the withdrawal, it reiterated the importance of securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. Any withdrawal agreement and future association or international agreement with the UK will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.