Interview with The Rt Hon Brandon Lewis, Home Office Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit and No Deal Preparation
- Minister thank you for accepting an invitation for addressing the Romanians living in the UK through Roman in UK.
- My pleasure.
- The latest statistics of the EU Settlement Scheme were just released. Could you please tell us what do these figures tell us about the Romanians living in the UK, who now count as the second largest non-British nationality living in the UK?
- I think the figures are very good news, as will hear of probably 2 million by the end of today ( 10th of October 2019). I think in terms of the Scheme which has run now for a few months and actually still has a better part of 18 months left to run. I think it is very very successful. We have now got I believe 280,600 people from Romania out of the 400 odd thousand who are in the UK who applied. I would encourage everybody to apply, to get it done sooner rather than later. There are 68% who have already applied, it would be good to get the other 32% with your help and giving coverage through your outlet will help us get to the other 32% and hopefully get them to apply as soon as possible.
- At this moment of time, when the scenario of a No Deal Brexit is still on the table what assurances can you offer the 32% Romanians who did not yet apply for the scheme for their future status?
- The scheme itself, the EU Settlement Scheme runs until at least the end of 2020, so they have got plenty of time but I just think to put their minds at rest, apply early, get their status confirmed. No Deal is to that effect irrelevant to this, we will continue the Settled Status Scheme. The 31st of October, with or without Deal is not particularly relevant in terms of people who were here before the 31st of October. So anybody who is living here before the 31st of October can apply and as I say they have got plenty of time to do it but I would encourage people to do it sooner rather than later.
- We are talking about a figure of between 400,000-500,000 who live and work in the UK. What message do you as the Minister of Home Office of the UK have for them now, only moments before a decision about Brexit will come through?
- This scheme will run at least until the end of 2020, regardless of what happens on the 31st of October they can apply for that in good time to do so. I would just say to them exactly as I said a few times before, the prime minister said and the previous prime minister also said which is we recognize that there are people from a whole range of of communities, from your point of view obviously the Romanian community, who play a hugely important part in our whole society, in our economy. We want them to stay, feel they are part of the UK and we made a very generous offer and we would hope that people will apply for their status and get that process done and dusted and solved as quickly as possible, and we made it a very simple system to make it easy for people to do as well.