As Greens, we value the great contribution of EU citizens in our city. EU nationals are vital for our culture and hospitality sectors, they are saving lives in the NHS and in the care sector every day during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and they have helped keep our city going during lockdown.
Above all, EU citizens play an important part in our local communities. We very much want EU nationals to stay in Brighton and Hove post-Brexit.
Our city would simply not be the same without the many EU citizens who have made Brighton and Hove their home.
Over the past five years Greens have continuously campaigned against Brexit and for the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
We demanded that the council lobbies the government for impact assessments so that our city can understand what leaving the EU means.
Greens called for the council to remain a member of Eurocities, a partnership which has brought in funding and support for employment work, careers advice and environmental projects.
Most recently, we called for EU nationals to be given support and information by Brighton and Hove City Council on applying for EU settled status.
Some of the in-person equipment such as scanners are not yet back up and running due to covid-19 restrictions and we want to work towards offering this service as soon as possible again as well as obtaining more information from the government on what support is available to those who need to apply.
The government recently published the latest statistics on the EU Settlement Scheme. I am glad to see that so far over 20,000 EU Nationals living in Brighton and Hove have already applied for EU settled status.
As a German national, I have recently gone through the application process myself and found the process easy and quick.
Although the exact number of EU nationals living in Brighton and Hove is not known, we know that there are still some EU nationals who have not yet applied for the EU settled status.
I urge everyone who is eligible to apply for EU settled status as soon as possible. Every EU national who arrives in the UK before Friday 1 January 2021 is eligible to apply.
There is a “grace period” that allows EU nationals to apply up to the end of June next year. But it is unclear at present how landlords and employers can distinguish in that grace period between EU citizens resident in the UK before the end of this year and subsequent new arrivals.
We will communicate with landlords and businesses through various channels to ensure that EU citizens are not being discriminated against.
Sadly, it is increasingly likely that – due to the Conservative government’s reckless negotiating tactics – no trade deal will be agreed before the deadline on Thursday 15 October and that uncertainty prevails.
We urge our fantastic diverse communities and those who know EU nationals to encourage them to apply for EU settled status. Please visit the council’s website if you need help with applying.
Marianna Ebel is a Green councillor and chairs the Brighton and Hove City Council Brexit Working Group.