Thousands face catastrophic loss of rights as EUSS deadline looms

A new report into the situation of EU workers in British care homes has highlighted the risk that thousands will fall foul of the legal requirement for them to register their status in the UK before a government deadline expires on 30 June 2021.

Based on extensive survey work in UK care homes, the report, by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, found that 1 in 3 care workers had not heard of the UK Government’s EU Settled Status Scheme and that  1 in 2 did not know about the deadline.

Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, EU citizens based in the UK must apply for settled or pre-settled status to protect their right to reside in the UK and therefore to be able to access healthcare, education and welfare services.

It now appears that vast numbers of EEA workers employed in sectors delivering care to others are now themselves at risk of not meeting the deadline. This would put them outside the law with limited or no access to public services as a result.

Caitlin Boswell, author of the JCWI report said:

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic, while the EUSS deadline for EU citizens is less than six months away.  

“This includes thousands of care workers who have worked tirelessly, putting their lives and their families’ lives on the line to get us through this crisis.   

“It couldn’t be more urgent that the Government lift the EUSS deadline.”


The research builds on findings by  New Europeans at the end of 2020, highlighting the issues many EU citizens were have with the new digital status and online application process.

Responding to the new research, Roger Casale, founder and CEO of New Europeans said:

“It is now clear that it is not only the most vulnerable EU citizens who are at risk. All those with poor access to information at work also face missing the deadline.

"It’s a small percentage of the total number of EU Citizens in the UK but a very large number in absolute terms.

"Each one is an individual life,  which could be the life of a mother, a father, a friend or a neighbour or as the JCWI report shows an essential worker or your carer”

EU citizens make up a high proportion of health and social care workers in the UK, a sector that is already under pressure due to the pandemic.  If frontline workers were to lose their legal status in the UK the consequences would be severe for those in their care.

Nadia Whittome, at 24 years of age the youngest MP in the House of Commons, said of the report:

“Care workers have risked their lives in the pandemic. Yet as a profession they are seriously undervalued. Without EU migrants our care system would collapse."

It is unacceptable that many of them risk losing their right to live in the UK. The government must lift the deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme immediately.”  

As well as recommending an extension of the 30 June deadline for EUSS application, both the JCWI and New Europeans reports also call on the Government to issue a physical proof of status to EU citizens.

Commenting further, Roger Casale said:

“The problem is that people don’t know what they don’t know. Many EU/EEA citizens working in the care sector, are not aware that they don’t know what to do to apply for settled status – so nothing gets done.

“Equally, even when an EU Citizen has pre-settled or settled status, many employers, landlords and in some cases even government officials don’t understand that this status ring-fences many of the rights that citizen had before Brexit.”

“That amounts in my view to another Windrush scandal in the making, unless the UK government acts now to prevent it. As things stand, it doesn’t look as it is minded to do so”.


Speaking for the Scottish National Party,  Stuart McDonald MP spokesperson on Immigration, Asylum and Border control said:

“This hugely concerning report sets out the stark consequences that will follow if the Home Office continues to ignore all the many warnings about the design of the settled status scheme. 

"Tens - if not hundreds - of thousands are at risk of losing rights overnight, including pivotal care workers. 

" All of the recommendations in this report are designed to try and stop this happening – there is no excuse for not implementing them.”   

When the clapping stops: EU care workers post Brexit, Caitlin Boswell and Chai Pater, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, January 2021

Digital status post Brexit: handle with care, Cecilia Mellana, New Europeans, December 2020


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