EU Settlement Scheme: A new role for the Voluntary Sector

Key findings

43%

of respondents from the 'wider' voluntary sector had never heard of the EU Settlement Scheme before the survey.

82%

of respondents considered their clients to be at risk of not knowing about, not applying or not receiving Settled Status.

This report from New Europeans and funded by Trust for London looks at the third sector's preparedness to support Europeans, EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members to access the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). It looks at why this is an issue of concern for the third sector as well as the findings of a recent survey into the third sector's preparedness, and concludes with preliminary recommendations for coordinating an effective response to the settlement scheme.

It is estimated that among the 1.2million EU/EEA and Swiss nationals living in London, 6% are 'vulnerable' and at real risk of not applying for or being granted the Settled Status they need. It is likely that some of this group will need the help and support of voluntary and community organisations if they do not achieve or encounter difficulties with the status they are granted.

A note that this report is a first draft. Following contributions from a seminar with experts in the field in November 2019, and informed by ongoing work by New Europeans with communities who need to register for the scheme, a second edition with extended findings will be published.

Key findings

  1. The 'wider' third sector (outside of the advice and migrant support sector) lacks information, understanding and engagement with EUSS.
  2. Traditional third sector beneficiaries are likely to face multiple barriers in accessing the scheme.
  3. Groups dealing with this need more resources.

Initial conclusions

  • More work is needed to raise awareness, increase understanding and to empower the wider third sector to support their beneficiaries in accessing the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Exceptions needs to be built into the regulations to allow for those who face multiple barriers in accessing the scheme; including but not limited to a lack of awareness, understanding, language and digital accessibility.
  • More funding is needed to build the capacity of specialist organisations which are already working on the issue; to engage other third sector organisations; and to maintain this support for at least a further six years.
  • Many groups are calling for a declaratory system "that will grant all EU citizens and family members resident in the UK automatic settled status and provide physical documentation as proof of status". This is an approach which could resolve many issues raised by respondents.
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EU Settlement Scheme: A new role for the Voluntary Sector

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