MPs should back proposals to prevent EU citizens with a settled status in the UK facing severe difficulties accessing housing, employment and healthcare according to a coalition of groups representing EU citizens, immigrants and landlords.
The House of Commons will today vote on an amendment passed in the House of Lords to the EU Withdrawal Bill that would require EU citizens to be given a physical status document to prove their right to rent property and work in the UK.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the3million and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have joined forces.
They have warned that unless MPs accept the amendment it creates the risk of landlords and employers being reluctant, without immediate physical proof of their status, to let a home or offer a job to EU citizens.
In a joint statement, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the3million and the RLA, said: “MPs should back what is a pragmatic and common-sense proposal.
“It should not be controversial that EU citizens who have played such a positive role to the life of the UK should be able to easily prove their rights with a physical document.
“A digital only status will massively disadvantage EU citizens against British nationals with a passport, and anyone else who can quickly and conveniently prove their status with a simple official document.”
Under the EU Settlement Scheme the government plans only to give EU citizens a digital code to prove their residency for landlords and employers to look up online.
Previous research on the government’s right to rent policy by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants found that of 150 mystery shopping enquiries from prospective tenants who asked landlords to conduct an online status check, 85% received no response.
Only three responses explicitly stated that the landlord was willing to conduct an online check.
Landlords were far happier to respond positively when the tenant could provide a clear physical document proving their status.
A report published by the3million this week found that 89% of EU citizens are unhappy about the lack of a physical document.
Calls for EU citizens to be given such a document have been made also by the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, the Home Affairs Select Committee and the House of Lords EU Justice sub-committee which warned to the “parallel with the lack of documents contributing to the Windrush scandal.”