EU citizens urged to 'collect evidence they lived in UK prior to Brexit vote'

'Make a file now with proof of your presence,' advises chair of Lords EU committee Baroness Helena Kennedy

May Bulman@maybulman
Wednesday 14 December 2016 20:28
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Baroness Helena Kennedy advised EU nationals to 'make a file' of documents such as bills, rental or home ownership documents and paperwork to prove their 'presence' in Britain prior to the EU referendum
Baroness Helena Kennedy advised EU nationals to 'make a file' of documents such as bills, rental or home ownership documents and paperwork to prove their 'presence' in Britain prior to the EU referendum

EU nationals residing in Britain should collect documents to prove they lived in Britain before the Brexit vote in June, the chair of a House of Lords committee has warned.

Helena Kennedy QC advised EU nationals in the UK to “make a file” of documents such as bills, rental or home ownership documents and employment paperwork in order to prove their “presence” in the Britain prior to the EU referendum.

During an interview with the Guardian, Baroness Kennedy said: “Make a file now with proof of your presence [and] supporting letters from people who’ve known you, who have taught you or who you have had business dealings with.”

Baroness Kennedy, who chairs a Lords EU subcommittee that has just carried out an investigation into the “acquired rights” of Europeans in the UK and British nationals living in continental Europe, also warned of deep anxiety among both EU citizens in the UK and Britons residing on the continent.

In its report following the investigation, the Lords committee warned that Theresa May had a “heavy moral obligation” to make the first move in a unilateral undertaking to immediately guarantee to safeguard the rights of all EU nationals in the UK.

It concludes that international law may not provide much reassurance for EU citizens.

“The evidence we received makes very clear that the doctrine of acquired rights under public international law will provide little, if any, effective protection for former EU rights once the UK withdraws from the EU,” the report says.

The question of what will happen to the estimated 2.9 million citizens of other EU countries who have made their home in the UK in recent years is a controversial matter that has arisen from the UK's vote to leave the EU in June's referendum.

Earlier this month, campaign group The 3 Million warned that up to one million EU citizens were at risk of deportation after Brexit, unless the government comes up with a more simple way of recognising their status in the country.

It comes as official data revealed that in the 12 months running up to June, 189,000 EU citizens migrated to Britain along with 196,000 non-EU citizens, with high levels of employment the main attraction, while 49,000 British citizens left.

The new figures followed predictions from the UK’s official forecaster that the cost of falling migration in future years as a result of Brexit will hit some £16bn in lost government revenue.

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