Among the people making a huge contribution to our community are around 55,000 residents who were originally from other countries in the European Union. Help is now available for those interested in applying for ‘settled status’ in the UK if Brexit happens.
The full impact of Britain exiting the European Union will, of course, not be known until negotiations between the UK and EU are completed – or ended – by the latest deadline of 31 October. And individual circumstances will vary, but all EU citizens wishing to stay in the country will have to apply for settled status.
Help to apply to become settled
The application can be demanding but there is help at hand locally for those who need advice or support to make their application.
Ealing CVS is one of just 57 organisations selected across the country by the government to provide an EU settlement service, and it is now serving the west London area – including Ealing, with the backing of the council.
Council leader Julian Bell said: “The support is totally free and provides and ‘end-to-end’ service from the start of the application through to the end decision. This includes practical, one-to-one support and advice, language support, digital assistance and access to computers.”
‘Not all of our EU citizens are seen’
Solicitor Irfan Arif works for the service. He said: “Ealing has been a historical residence for EU citizens for more than 50 years and is home to some of London’s largest EU citizen communities. These residents play a vital role in our local economy and add a depth of vibrancy and diversity to the borough.
“However, not all of our EU citizens are seen. The Ealing EU Settlement Service works to primarily engage and connect with the most vulnerable, and often hidden, EU citizens.
“Through a combination of legally trained and specialist language staff and volunteers the service aims to alleviate the anxiety of Brexit and continue to build an inclusive and strong Ealing that’s ready for the challenges ahead.”
Where to get help
- To find out more, call the free EU Settlement Advice Line Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm on 0800 0564 745
- There is also a weekly drop-in session every Monday 10am-12noon at the West London Equity Centre, 4th Floor, Villiers House, Haven Green, Ealing W5 2PA
- And there is support at local food banks:
- Ealing Green Church, Ealing Green on Tuesdays 10am-12noon
- St Mellitus Church, Church Road, Hanwell on Wednesdays 10am-12noon
- St Anselm’s RC Church, The Green, Southall on Thursdays 1-3pm.
More information on Brexit
General information for residents and local businesses can be found at www.ealing.gov.uk/brexit