St Clement Constable Len Norman made the comments during this week’s States sitting after Senator Sam Mézec asked him what approach he would adopt in respect of EU nationals who had settled legally in the Island but had not applied for the Jersey EU Settlement Scheme by its 30 June deadline.
EU nationals – other than Irish nationals – living in Jersey before the end of 2020 who wish to remain here post-Brexit must apply to the settlement scheme. Those who do not could face difficulty travelling as well as accessing jobs, housing, free healthcare and benefits.
Mr Norman said those who did not apply in time would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis ‘sympathetically, positively and helpfully’.
‘It’s important that they do have immigration permission to remain lawfully in the Island and we will do everything we can to help any late applications to achieve that,’ he said.
‘Reasonable grounds for not having completed [the form] are not limited but might include children, they might include people who have been ill, they might include people who have limited access to IT.’
He said there were an estimated 20,000 people who would need to apply for settled status, and that currently more than 16,000 applications had been received.
Deputy Kirsten Morel asked what efforts the Home Affairs Minister was making to ensure those eligible for the scheme were aware of their need to apply.
Mr Norman said: ‘We have been trying very hard since the decision was made for the UK to leave the EU. Our communications unit are working very hard at this time, doubling their efforts to encourage those outstanding residents to make an application before the end of June.
‘One of the problems is we don’t actually know who they are, so we can’t make personal approaches. But hopefully the message is getting through.’