EU migrants in Suffolk to get advice on post-Brexit rights amid fears some 'don't know enough'
PUBLISHED: 12:22 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 20 March 2019
Archant Norfolk 2017
Free advice is to be given Suffolk EU nationals about what they need to do to stay in Britain after Brexit, with fears raised some "don't know enough" about their rights.
Chaos in Westminster means it is unclear whether Britain will leave the EU as planned on March 29 or whether Article 50 will be extended until June or even later.
But as it stands, EU nationals currently living in UK need to apply to Home Office to remain in the country post-Brexit.
The Suffolk Law Centre, set up last year to make people more aware of their legal rights, fears many EU migrants, many of whom make a crucial contribution to Suffolk’s economy, are unaware of what they need to do to remain.
As such the centre in St Matthew’s Street, Ipswich is holding a free advice session this week in a bid to make people more aware of the next steps.
In particular it is targeting eastern European nationals, as their home nations were the most recent to join the EU.
Sue Wardell, business development officer for Suffolk Law Centre, said: “People don’t know enough - particularly people who have possibly only been here for a few years most of whom have possibly been working on a casual basis, haven’t applied for British citizenship and don’t quite know what their rights are going to be.
“We’re particularly targeting members of the eastern European community and the newer migrant communities who have been the backbone of our rural agricultural economy and may not be sure about what will be happening.
“There is a huge amount of confusion over when we are leaving and that doesn’t help. It hasn’t helped lawyers to give the right advice.”
Ms Wardell also raised concerns that the application process for people to remain in the EU will be online only, adding: “That immediately puts more barriers in the way for some people.”
She also said those without the right documentation could find their applications rejected or delayed.
That means it is extra important that people are aware of the documents they need to supply from the beginning.
“The more information people have, the better they will be able to make the right decision and not be in a situation where they are told they can’t stay any more,” she said.
The information event for EU citizens takes places at Ipswich International Church, in Portman Road, on Thursday (March 21) between 6pm and 8pm.
There will be a presentation from an expert in immigration law, as well as written information available in Romanian, Czech, Hungarian, Slovak and English.
Anyone with information should contact Ms Wardell on 01473 408111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org