More than 1 million EU citizens are set to pay call charges while they call the post-Brexit rights hotline.
These affected citizens only make up roughly 1.5% of the UK’s population yet they are getting charged up to 40p per minute for calls to see whether they are eligible to stay in the United Kingdom. In the grand scheme of things, 40p really isn’t a lot, but if these affected people need to stay on the phone for an hour to confirm details etc they will be paying £24 for that phone call. If you multiply the £24 of each person call, roughly as some may take less time than others, more than 1 million people could be paying upwards of £20,000,000 altogether.
Labour MP Kate Green, said it was “outrageous” for EU citizens who’ve been living in the UK for years “are still being made to hand over money just to keep their existing rights”.
She told Politics Home “These are our colleagues, our neighbours, our friends and in some cases our families”, she also added, “The Government’s behaviour towards them is beneath contempt.” She said additionally, “It’s no wonder that growing numbers of EU citizens, especially those working in the NHS, are leaving the UK. These hidden call charges must be scrapped immediately.”
A spokesperson for the 3 million, an organisation that looks to support these people affected by the changes of Brexit said that some applicants had been forced to make several 20-minute calls to the hotline for help with the process.
One thing is certain, thousands and thousands of EU citizens are going to be losing their rights once Brexit hits and there’s not a lot they can do about it.
Liberal Democrat Affairs spokesman Ed Davey has said: “This shows that, despite the shocking revelations of the Windrush Scandal, the Home Office’s hostile culture hasn’t changed a bit – and that means we are heading for another scandal when thousands of EU citizens who lose their rights after Brexit.”
A Home Office spokesperson released this statement: “The EU Settlement Scheme makes it easy for EU citizens to get the UK immigration status they need.
“The online process is designed to be as straightforward as possible but anyone can call the 03 number for help. These low-cost numbers are often part of inclusive minutes in mobile phone packages.
“There is also £9 million of funding available to voluntary and community sector organisations to help us reach more vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens and their family members directly so no one gets left behind.”
Source: Politics Home