Letter to Secretaries of State as BiE winds down
British in Europe was formed in 2017 in response to the referendum in the UK on leaving the European Union.
Since that time, we have advocated to protect the rights of the approximately 1.2 million UK citizens living in the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Area countries that were put at risk as a result of the decision to leave the EU.
We have engaged actively with UK government ministers, including then Secretary of State Stephen Barclay, and civil servants in all respective departments along with Members of both Houses of Parliament.
In addition, we have engaged intensively with the EU Commission’s Article 50 Task Force and its successors, the European Parliament, and national parliaments, ministers and civil servants across the EU.
BiE is now recognised as the only civil society organisation representing the rights of UK citizens across the EU that is invited to address the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights set up under the auspices of the EU-UK Joint Committee on Withdrawal Agreement (WA) implementation.
On 12 January 2022, we wrote to four Secretaries of State to explain that we are reluctantly closing our virtual doors since we have been unable to secure the necessary core funding to continue our work, notwithstanding the generosity of many individual donors living in the EU.
We are closing reluctantly because we know we leave a long list of unresolved issues and people in need of competent and targeted assistance to access their rights.
Our letter was sent to:
Liz Truss, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Priti Patel, MP, Secretary of State for the Home Office
Nadim Zahawi, MP, Secretary of State for Education
Therese Coffey, MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
copying in Marie Simonsen and Giles Portman, Joint Chairs, Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights.
"As the relevant UK Secretaries of State, the responsibility for ensuring that the rights of 1.2 million UK citizens in the EEA and Switzerland are protected and implemented lies with you."
In the letter, we outlined some of the outstanding issues in the following areas:
1. Implementation of the WA and Norway-UK and Swiss-UK agreements
2. The right to return to the UK of UK citizens with non-UK family members
3. Draft changes in the Nationality and Borders Bill on deprivation without notice of UK citizenship for dual nationals
4. Implementation of the 7-year grace period on home fees and student finance for prospective UK citizen students living in the EEA and Switzerland
5. Potential changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for recipients in the EEA and Switzerland
We will let you know if we receive a reply.
Read the letter in full below.
PUBLISHED: Jan 25, 2022
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