A top chef who has lived in the UK for 31 years and has three British children says he has been denied the right to stay permanently after Brexit.
Richard Bertinet, who owns a cooking school and bakery in Bath and has written several award-winning cookbooks, described the government’s settlement scheme to allow EU citizens to stay in the UK “shambolic”.
He was only granted pre-settled status, which means he will need to apply again for the right to remain in the UK in five years – though the Home Office has told Sky News it will work with Mr Bertinet to ensure he does not have to do so.
His comments follow a public outcry after Polish chef Damian Wawrzyniak, who has cooked for the Royal Family and at the London Olympics, said he was not given permanent settled status despite living in the UK for 15 years.
EU citizens will have to apply via the settlement scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, as part of post-Brexit plans.
Pre-settled status is usually given to those who have lived in the UK for less than five years.
Mr Bertinet says he has lived in the UK for three decades without any breaks – apart from a few weeks of holidays – and that he has a British wife and three British children.
Those granted settled status can stay in the UK as long as they like and can apply for British citizenship if eligible – but those in Mr Bertinet’s and Mr Wawrzyniak’s positions will need to apply again.
Mr Bertinet said he had “submitted all evidence requested” but it was still “not good enough for settled status”.
He told Sky News it was “embarrassing” to apply for the settlement scheme after living in the UK for nearly all of his life.
“To prove that I’ve been here for 31 years – goodness me, they can track everything I’ve done for 31 years. I shouldn’t have to prove that,” he said.
He was defended by TV chef Nigella Lawson, who said the decision was “idiotic and wrong, and so hurtful”.
But Mr Bertinet said his main concern was people getting “caught out” by not applying to the scheme.
MPs and think tanks previously warned the EU settlement scheme, which requires an estimated 3.5 million EU citizens to register, could become the next Windrush scandal.
A report found “large numbers” of EU nationals living in the UK could be left in limbo or ruled to be in the country illegally.
Former home secretary Sajid Javid had said the system would be “simple and straightforward” and added: “We will be looking to grant, not for reasons to refuse.”
Figures released this week show that of the 800,000 applications dealt with by 30 June, 65% were granted full status and 35% were granted pre-settled status.
Mr Wawrzyniak, who has cooked for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, told his 17,000 Twitter followers: “Have lived in the UK for 15 years.
“Always employed, without gaps, now running own restaurant. Paid thousands of pounds in taxes.”
He later said the deputy chief of European casework at the Home Office had contacted him to help reassess his application.
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “It’s hugely worrying when one of our top chefs who has cooked for the queen, paid his taxes, and employed many in his restaurants is denied settled status in the UK because he is originally Polish.”
This is simply untrue, as you well know. Nobody is denied status because they are from a particular country. Home Office is helping Mr Wawryziak with his application so he can get settled status. https://t.co/e3aPgzQES6
— Priti Patel MP (@patel4witham) August 24, 2019
In response, Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “This is simply untrue, as you well know. Nobody is denied status because they are from a particular country. Home Office is helping Mr Wawryziak with his application so he can get settled status.”
But after Mr Wawrzyniak posted about his own pre-settled status, a number of social media users came forward with their own similar stories.
One woman named Anne told Sky News she felt “discouraged pursuing settled status”, although she had been living in the UK for 16 years.
She said her application had been complicated by being self-employed during last year, despite providing evidence.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Mr Bertinet applied for, and was granted pre-settled status under the scheme, but our caseworkers have been in contact with him to assist him in providing the evidence needed to be granted settled status.
“Automatic checks against government data are making it simple for many people to apply successfully and in 79% of concluded cases during testing, applicants did not need to provide any further evidence of residence.
“One million EU citizens and their families have been granted status so far and they have until at least December 2020 to make an application.”
Credit: Source link