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EU students urged to secure settled status as Brexit looms

European Union students are being urged to apply for the right to carry on studying in the UK after Brexit through the government’s EU Settlement Scheme, which is free of charge.

The UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019 and students have until 30 June 2021 to register for the scheme, unless it becomes a ‘no deal’ Brexit, in which case the deadline changes to 31 December 2020.

The University of Manchester and its Students’ Union are encouraging those who haven’t yet applied to do so sooner rather than later, to secure their status and continue to enjoy rights such as access to NHS services.

EU students can apply for the scheme through the government website or by downloading the app for information about who is eligible to apply, how to do so, and what happens afterwards.

The application is a three-step process requiring the following:

  • Prove your identity and nationality through your passport or National ID card and provide a digital photo of your face
  • Prove your residency in the UK through the likes of a student status letter and National Insurance number
  • Provide information about any criminal convictions, if applicable. This is checked against the UK’s crime databases.

Manchester SU Exec Officers said: “It is vital that EU students everywhere sign up for the scheme before the deadline. Acting quickly also allows time for the student and the Union to appeal in the unlikely event of a rejected application.

“We pride ourselves on the support we offer students to enhance their experience, and we passionately promote diversity, equality and inclusivity. We are here to help our EU students with their registration so they can get peace of mind and enjoy their time here post-Brexit.”

Torvald Romeis is going into first year in Manchester, studying Management with International Business Economics. He has Swedish nationality with South African heritage and successfully applied for settled status last month, after a previous attempt earlier in the year.

“I applied once in March but my passport had expired, ” he told The Mancunion, “I made an appointment to renew my passport and did so in August, […] once I finally got my passport, I did it practically on the street outside the embassy.”

Romeis, who has lived in the UK since 1999, spoke to The Mancunion about the effect Brexit has had on him: “At the announcement of Brexit when I wasn’t aware of there being any settled status provision or equivalent, I felt panicked and hurt as I’ve lived in the country for so long. Once settled status was made free I felt a little more at ease.”

“Once I got the settled status I felt a lot more secure and comfortable as I knew that as the legislation and so on stands, I’m here to stay, I can continue to study here and I will, as far as I know, be charged the same as a UK student for my tuition fees.”

The Students’ Union is working with Manchester University to raise awareness of the scheme amongst EU students, as well as offering to print and photocopy documents for the students’ applications, and providing android phones and tablets on campus for those who can’t access the app on their own devices.

This offer from the SU comes in response to numerous complaints about the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app. The app was released by the government in 2018 to streamline the application process, but was found to be incompatible with certain makes of phone, including iPhones.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid released a statement earlier this year promising that the app will work on iPhone by the end of 2019.

The Mancunion‘s Film Editor, Tobias Soar spoke about the technical issues he experienced when aiding his mother in applying for settled status:

“You scan your passport with your camera, then you scan your passport’s chip with your phone’s NFC chip and, finally, you scan your face with the selfie camera. The process is pretty straightforward and takes about 10 minutes, however, it’s limited by phone hardware.

“My mum’s iPhone 5c doesn’t have this chip, nor does my brother’s phone. So, my mother had to wait for me to visit to do this on my phone.”

Opinion Editor, Nimo Omer, also applied for settled status this year as she was born in the Netherlands but moved to the UK in 2002. She encountered similar technical issues when applying:

“It seemed quite straightforward at first, but actually was quite unclear in places and crashed a lot, so I had to start over. Also I only did it by myself because I used someone else’s Samsung phone – if you have no access to a Samsung the entire process becomes a lot lengthier.”

These technical issues can cause delays in the application process, as people may have to resort to manually submitting their official documents for approval, through passport checking facilities or by posting their originals.

Students at the University of Manchester who encounter issues with their settlement application are encouraged to visit the Advice Centre on the first floor of the Students’ Union.

Tags: brexit, EU Exit app, EU Students, Manchester Students' Union, UK Settled Status

Anja Samy

Editor-In-Chief of The Mancunion and Head of Manchester Media Group.

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