Dutchman may have to leave Shotley after 50 years in the UK

Shotley man Casper de Boer has applied for the EU Settlement Scheme

Shotley man Casper de Boer has applied for the EU Settlement Scheme - Credit: Supplied by Sally Chicken

A Dutch man who has been living in the UK since 1971 could be forced to leave his Shotley home in what he describes as a "Kafkaesque nightmare". 

The EU Settlement Scheme, under which UK residents can apply for indefinite leave to remain post-Brexit, closed on June 30 and Casper de Boer, a Dutchman who has lived and worked here since 1971, applied on June 9 but is still awaiting a decision on his future.

Mr de Boer, 71, said he cannot get hold of anyone at the government department to ask for an update and does not know when his passport will be returned, describing the experience as "an utter Kafkaesque nightmare". 

He added: "You cannot contact them. They won't come back to you."

The helpline for the scheme tells you there are too many people in the queue and cuts you off.

A former-handyman, Mr de Boer did not believe he needed to apply to the scheme originally as when he arrived in 1971 his passport was stamped by border control with "indefinite remain" but after the urging of family and friends, he thought it best to apply. 

"I rang the Home Office and they did not know [if I can legally stay] and had to ask and that didn't fill me with confidence," the said.

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"You are left in limbo."

Around two thirds of those who have applied to for EU Settlement Status have been left waiting over a month for a decision, which the Home Office claims takes a few days. 

A Home Office spokeswoman said it has 212 dedicated EU Settlement Scheme call agents who have answered more than 1.5 million calls. 

Shotley man Casper de Boer has been in the UK 1971. 

Shotley man Casper de Boer has been here in the UK 1971. - Credit: Casper de Boer

She added: “Prior to the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme, our Resolution Centre saw a surge in calls, including for those who had already submitted an application.

"Anyone who has already submitted an application has their rights protected in law, even if it remains outstanding now the deadline has passed.

“It usually takes around five working days to process a straightforward application received online, however it can take longer to process postal and other applications which require additional evidence.

"Customers will receive a notification we have received their documents or postal application and it will be carefully tracked, and documents will be returned once their application is processed.”

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