Care workers at risk of missing out on EU settled status

Care workers eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme seem unaware of the need to apply, a new report has found.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) surveyed 290 social care workers and found that as many as one in three had never heard of the Settlement Scheme, which allows EU citizens and their family members who apply before 30 June 2021 to remain in the UK despite Brexit.

Survey responses were collected between January and March 2020, mostly from eastern Europeans. The results showed that “1 in 7 care workers surveyed online either did not know or were not sure what the EUSS was and 1 in 3 care workers surveyed in person had never heard of the EUSS before we met them”, according to JCWI.

One of them was a Swedish-Ethiopian care assistant, Aisha, who had “never heard of the EU Settlement Scheme until JCWI’s visit” and didn’t understand it after their visit either. Although applications are straightforward for most people, those most at risk of slipping through the cracks are people like Aisha with “very limited English” and zero digital literacy.

There have been almost five million Settlement Scheme applications so far, but the size of the target population is unknown and JCWI point out that “if even a tiny fraction… are unable to apply in time, tens of thousands of people will lose their status overnight”.

A Social Market Foundation survey carried out around the same time found that awareness of the Settlement Scheme was also low among European farm workers. 

Posted on Jan 26, 2021.

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