On Tuesday September 13th the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, based in London, sent a letter to the new Home Secretary, Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP concerning unresolved issues that were causing considerable distress to many Polish and other EU citizens resident in the UK. The letter was signed by the Secretary of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, Mr Tadeusz Stenzel, due to a temporary illness of the Federation President Dr Wlodzimierz Meir Jedrzejowicz
The Federation acknowledges that the introduction of the settled status scheme has been relatively successful despite the complications and doubts originally raised over its merits and practicality. We know from the March 2022 statistics that 5.7 million applications from EU citizens had been concluded, including 1.1 Polish citizens, and that of these last 76% had been granted settled status and 19% pre settled status. Despite passing the deadline of 30th June 2021 for lodging applications, the Home Office has continued to allow many unavoidably late applications being made, including at least 42,750 from Polish citizens. The process of application has been aided by the Home Office funding grants to charities, including the East European Advice Centre in London and Polish British Integration Centre in Bedford, providing support, interpretation, and translation services for vulnerable applicants.
The Federation and the active support groups assisting in handling these cases are concerned that more than 200,000 Polish citizens find themselves in limbo with pre settled status. Many of them still face the difficult task of reapplying again for full settled status once their 5 year stay in this country is achieved. Often because of their personal circumstances they are unaware that they must reapply or lack the technical knowledge or language skills to make the application. While this matter remains unresolved they are often denied the rights of UK residents to which they are entitled, such as employment, tented accommodation or even entry into the UK. This uncertainty over their status discourages them from making a proper application for settled status and could leave the Home Office with even more persons living here illegally. This unfortunate situation also affects other EU nationalities. as well as Poles.
In the attached letter the Federation has asked the Home Secretary to ease the problem with three issues.
The first is to extend the deadline for grants to support groups who have played a vital role in assisting with applications and who are facing an increased workload in the next few years as the 5 year period for settled status applicants matures. Their current grants run out after 30th September 2022.
The second is to increase awareness by those with pre settled status of the need to apply afresh for settled status and to give them a warning of the individual deadline by which each of them must lodge the required application.
The third is to supplement on request the electronic acknowledgement of both settled status and pre settled status with a valid printed document that will make their status more visible to the relevant landlord, employer, school board, border controls or airline staff.
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain CIO, which is an umbrella group representing the main Polish social and cultural organization in Great Britain since 1947, looks forward to a positive response from the new Home Secretary
Issued by Wiktor Moszczynski
Information Officer for the Federation of Poles in Great Britain.