WORLD / EUROPE
Almost half of EU citizens in UK worried about losing rights: study
Published: May 13, 2021 06:58 PM
Nearly half of EU nationals living in post-Brexit Britain fear they will lose rights and not be treated the same as native citizens in the future, according to a study published Thursday.

A view of the border gate at Calais, after Britain left the European Union (EU) two months ago in Calais, France on March 05, 2021 Photo: VCG

A view of the border gate at Calais, after Britain left the European Union (EU) two months ago in Calais, France on March 05 Photo: VCG

EU nationals already living in Britain before December 31, 2020, and who registered under the EU settlement scheme, retain the same rights to live, work and access social security despite Britain's departure from the bloc. 

A majority of respondents to the Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) study said they were currently treated the same as British citizens.

But 44 percent said they were not confident that would last. IMA, an organization set up to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit, polled some 3,000 people from the 27 EU member countries in the online study. 

Their findings revealed that "a significant minority has a lack of trust" in the institutions to defend their rights, Kathryn Chamberlain, IMA executive director, told a news conference at the Foreign Press Association in London. 

Half of respondents said they were "not aware of their citizen rights," with only 48 percent aware that their professional qualifications are equally recognized in the EU and in Britain. 

One in 10 respondents plan to leave Britain after June 30, when the grace period for registration ends. 

Some of the reasons cited for a possible departure include, a "lack of trust" in the government, a feeling that Britain is a "less welcoming place" because of Brexit, and concerns that their rights "would not be upheld by public bodies."

There were 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK, according to a 2019 estimate by the Office for National Statistics. However, the Home Office had received 5.6 million applications for registration by the end of March. The IMA called on public institutions to focus on the "vulnerable and marginalized." 
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