Statement by New Europeans UK
On 14 August, The Times newspaper reported that EU citizens would have to prove their right to free NHS treatment after 31 October or face charges for health care in the case of a no deal Brexit.
This is fake news. Shortly after the article appeared, the Home Office contacted New Europeans and other migrant and civil rights action groups to explain that the story was misleading.
In an email to Roger Casale, founder and CEO of New Europeans UK Ltd and CEOs of other civil and migrant rights' organisations, a spokesperson for the Home Office said:
" We want to completely reassure EU citizens living in the UK by 31 October that they will still be able to access free healthcare on the NHS after we leave the EU, in the same way they do now, whatever the circumstances.
How they prove their eligibility for NHS treatment will not change, regardless of whether they have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme."
Speaking about the incident, Roger Casale said
"It is surprising that a newspaper of the quality of The Times should have been taken in by such a story and we have called on John Witherow, the Editor, to publish a retraction.
Not for the first time, such alarmist stories pile unnecessary further anxiety onto the shoulders of EU 27 citizens who have already suffered three years of uncertainty due to Brexit."
Dr Roxana Barbulescu, a migration specialist and board member of New Europeans UK said:
"I am very relieved that this story has turned out to be without foundation but it could very easily have been otherwise.
The problem is that many people still believe that the status of EU27 citizens in the UK post Brexit is uncertain despite government assurances to the contrary.
This cuts both ways. On the one hand, EU citizens feel anxious about their status, ready to believe that the hostile environment we inhabit in the UK may be about to get much worse.
On the other hand, employers, landlords, and in some cases even civil servants appear not to be aware that EU27 citizens will continue to enjoy access to services irrespective of the way the UK leaves the EU and despite Government assurances to this effect.
An EU Green Card issued to every EU citizen with settled or pre-settled status in the UK, as advocated by New Europeans, would allay many of these concerns.
It would counter the stressful and constant fearfulness that has crept into the lives of many EU citizens since the 2016 Brexit referendum."
New Europeans is a pro-European civil rights organisation which works to inform and empower EU citizens.
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