OXFORD charity Asylum Welcome has been advising EU nationals on how to apply for settled status.

Some EU nationals living in the UK are being asked by the Home Office to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021, or December 31, 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Staff at the charity, which supports asylum seekers and refugees, have been contracted by the Home Office to help people in the county struggling to fill in their registration documents.

READ AGAIN: Asylum Welcome enlisted to help EU nationals before Brexit

Charity director Kate Smart said staff have advised about 150 people in the past two months.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “We are getting busier all the time.

“We can help people if they are really struggling with their documents, or if they have poor English or are not technically minded.

“I think the overwhelming emotion we are seeing at the moment is anxiety - people are worried if they have tried to complete the process and it hasn’t worked.

“Our advice is that people shouldn’t sit at home and worry - they should come and see us if they have a problem.”

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Ms Smart said the charity’s contract with the Home Office - called Europa Welcome - expires at the end of March but added it could be extended.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “Brexit may well happen on October 31 and if this was me I would try to get this sorted out before October 31.

“However, we can go only go at a certain pace and may end up having capacity issues.”

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Ms Smart said an example of someone they have helped was a woman who was a carer, originally from Greece, who did not have documents including council tax bills, which could prove residency.

She added: “Some of these people have lived in the UK for a long time

“They feel reassured when we explain the situation and check their documents.

“But this is not a service for everybody - under our contract if someone speaks good English and understands the principles they should really be contacting the Home Office themselves.

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“Everyone wants people who have been living here for a long time to be able to carry on living here a long time.”

Asylum Welcome started in Oxford about 25 years ago.

Oxford Mail:

Earlier this week Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, hit out at the ‘bureaucratic’ process which has caused problems for EU citizens who have been in the UK for decades.

He added: “What we don’t need is a bureaucratic application as it is now. What we need from the British Government is an automatic registration of all our EU citizens.”

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But Home Office minister Victoria Atkins insisted the Government wanted to make the process ‘as easy as possible’.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for the UK to be like the Incredible Hulk and break free of the EU’s “manacles”, Mr Verhofstadt said Mr Johnson should be more like the caring Mrs Doubtfire.

He tweeted: “Instead of playing the angry Hulk, I think he should inspire himself by another character – the caring nanny, the film of Mrs Doubtfire with the late Robin Williams.”

Visit asylum-welcome.org