Welsh Labour MPs have reacted with surprise after being sent letters by Sajid Javid advising them on how not to get deported after Brexit.
But the Home Office said this was because the two MPs, or someone in each of their offices, signed them up to receive updates about the government’s progress on securing EU citizens’ rights.
The home secretary has written to EU citizens living in the UK setting out how they can apply for the new “settled status” in Britain.
Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens and Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris were perplexed to also receive the message.
Stevens told HuffPost UK after tweeting about the letter: “Why is he writing to me, born in the UK and resident in the UK? I can hear Ali G’s voice: ’Is it because I is Welsh?”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “There has been no mistake made. Both email addresses have been used to sign up to receiving updates on the rights of EU citizens in the UK. They therefore received the email in the same way as other subscribers to these updates.”
According to the department, Stevens signed up for updates on March 13 2017 and Harris signed up on the March 19 2017.
Javid told EU citizens in his letter: “As home secretary, I take immense pride that so many EU citizens like you have made your home here.
“Safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK has always been our first priority and the agreement we reached with the EU earlier this year did just that.
“The rights that you and your family currently have are protected which include access to healthcare, benefits and pensions.”
After receiving the letter, Harris jokingly tweeted she was “chuffed he noticed us” and added it was “nice to be wanted”.
Javid yesterday revealed details on the settlement scheme for EU migrants seeking to stay in the UK after the post-Brexit implementation period ends on December 31, 2020.
EU citizens and family members who have been in the UK for five years by the end of 2020 will be able to apply for “settled status”, meaning they are free to go on living and working in the UK indefinitely.
Applicants will have to pay £65, which is the same as the current fee for a permanent residence document and £10.50 cheaper than the minimum for a standard British passport.
The fee will be £32.50 for children under the age of 16, and free of charge for those who already have permanent residence documents.
Sajid Javid’s letter
As Home Secretary, I take immense pride that so many EU citizens like you have made your home here.
Safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK has always been our first priority and the agreement we reached with the EU earlier this year did just that. The rights that you and your family currently have are protected which include access to healthcare, benefits and pensions.
Away from the negotiations, my team in the Home Office have been working hard to develop the service that you’ll use to get your settled status. This work will continue as we make sure that the system and processes are rigorously tested and meet every requirement ahead of the launch.
Today I am able to announce in more detailwhat this system will look like.
Most importantly, the application process is designed to be simple. Most people will only need to complete three sections to prove their identity, show that they live here and declare that they have no serious criminal convictions. We will also check employment and benefits records we already hold in government which for many people will mean that their proof of living here is automatic. We hope therefore most people will not need to do anything beyond typing in personal details.
What’s more, settled status will cost less than the fee for a British passport - £65 and £32.50 for children under 16. For those who already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, they will be able to exchange it for free.
There will be support for the vulnerable and those without access to a computer, and we’re working with EU citizens’ representatives and embassies to ensure the system works for everyone.
I should stress that you do not need to do anything just yet. The scheme will open later this year and we are on track to open the scheme fully by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications to the scheme will be 30 June 2021 so there will be plenty of time for you to apply and there are absolutely no quotas for applications.
In the meantime, please do share this message with your friends and family so that they too can stay up to date through ourmailing list.
I hope you will agree with me that this is an important step towards the commitment we made to you and your families so that you can continue your lives here.