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Council offers new service to help non-UK EU citizens with EU Settlement Scheme applications

Citizens of EU countries other than the UK who have made their home in Tower Hamlets are being encouraged to take advantage of a new council service.

Non-UK EU citizens who do not hold British citizenship and wish to continue living and working in the UK after 31 December 2020 will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status as part of the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme.

The scheme will open for applications from the public on 30 March 2019.

As part of the process, applicants will be required to verify their identity. This is possible to do using an app available on compatibleAndroid devices, but the council is aware that there will be those who may need additional support with technology or who do not have access to a suitable Android device.

From Tuesday 19 March, the council will be offering people the opportunity to get ready for their full application by having their passport verified and approved by the register office team. The service will cost £14.

This week, the service is being offered to council staff ahead of the wider public rollout planned for next week.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “There are more than 41,000 non-UK EU citizens living in Tower Hamlets. They’re our neighbours and our friends and we want to do all that we can to ensure that they can continue to live and work here after Brexit.

“We have taken a lead in providing Brexit-related information to our residents through our online toolkit and I’m delighted that we will be able to expand that offer with this new ID verification service.

“This week I saw for myself how speedy and straightforward the ID verification process is. I would encourage residents who will need to make an EU Settlement Scheme application to take advantage of it.”

Councillor Amina Ali, Chair of the Tower Hamlets Brexit Commission and Cabinet Member for Brexit, said: “We have made it clear to all the non-UK EU citizens living in our borough that this is their home too.

“Those who do wish to stay will need to go through the process of applying for pre-settled or settled status. We recognise that, for some people, being asked to register, despite in many cases having been here for years, can seem insensitive or distressing.

“We can’t change the Government’s scheme but we can do our bit to make the application process easier. That is what this service is intended to do.”

The ID verification service is available to all those who live in Tower Hamlets, as well as those who work here.

Anyone wishing to book an appointment should email nationalityandcitizenship@towerhamlets.gov.uk providing their full name and nationality as well as the mobile telephone number and e-mail address that they will be using for their application.

The register office team will respond to arrange an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

More detailed information about the EU Settlement Scheme can be found in our online Brexit toolkit.