Activist lawyers sue Home Office in Brexit battle over refusal to let Europeans live in UK

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It was claimed that some extended family members were refused the right to join European citizens already settled in the UK. Campaigners argue that refusing to let them join their family is a breach of the Brexit divorce deal. As a result of the row, lawyers are challenging the Home Office’s decision in court, according to the Politico website.

Disputes over the treatment of EU citizens in Britain have contributed to the stormy relationship between the Government and Brussels since Brexit.

The withdrawal agreement allows for extended family members, such as siblings, cousins and nephews, who are “dependents or members of the household” of an EU citizen living in the UK to retain their rights to live in the country.

In order to qualify, applicants needed to apply for a EEA Family Permit by December 31, 2020, and arrive by the end of June 2021.

The Home Office is reported to have sent a number of letters to inform people who say they have relatives in the country that they are not allowed to come to the UK.

In each of the 10 letters, the family members’ applications were initially refused by the Home Office but the decisions were latter appealed.

But the Home Office then wrote to the people to firm them that although their appeal was successful, they would still be unable to come because the deadline for the process had now passed.

In one case, an applicant known as “A” applied to join their brother, who has supported her financially since 2006.

The application was lodged on July 28, 2020, months before the December 31 deadline.

The Home Office eventually refused her request on December 31.

After successfully appealing the decision on June 22, 2021, more paperwork was required before the person was allowed to travel to the UK.

She received another letter from the Home Office on July 21 stating her permit was no longer valid as the route had now closed.

In another case, a man seeking to join his brother in the UK was informed on May 21, 2021, that an initial rejection of his application had been withdrawn and we was still able to live in the UK.

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But it was claimed the required paperwork never arrived despite several requests and he received email confirmation on July 20 stating it was now too late.

Immigration lawyer Luke Piper, of the3million campaign group, said: “These people applied in good faith expecting to come here.

“They won their cases, they’ve been stranded abroad and they should be allowed to come here.

“The withdrawal agreement is pretty clear. It does feel to me like people are being messed about.”

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A Home Office spokesman said: “The EU Settlement Scheme has been an overwhelming success, with over six million applications received.

“We have taken a flexible and pragmatic approach with applications and will continue to do so.”

EU states have already called for the European Commission to start its own legal proceedings against the UK over the treatment of Europeans after Brexit.

The Home Office has been repeatedly criticised over its handling of post-Brexit citizens’ rights issues.

In May, EU citizens were detained and held in immigration removal centres after landing in the country without work visas.

The ministry also lost another legal batter when EU citizens demanded the right to access personal information stored by it.

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