Portuguese man who has lived legally in UK since 2001 faces deportation
A Portuguese man, residing legally in the UK since 2001, now confronts the threat of deportation due to changing immigration policies.
The Home Office has issued a deportation threat to João Rocha Gonçalves Da Silva, a Portuguese plumber who has legally resided in the UK for over 20 years. The case highlights the Home Office's perceived increasingly hostile environment policy towards EU citizens, particularly those facing challenges with the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Da Silva, who arrived in the UK in May 2001, struggled with his EUSS application due to difficulties with the Home Office app and a lack of suitable technology. Facing a language barrier and a speech impediment, he sought assistance from the Home Office helpline, but communication issues persisted.
Eventually, Da Silva turned to a community organization for help and submitted his application on 7 November 2023, which was rejected just over two weeks later. The rejection letter outlined severe consequences, including fines, detention, imprisonment, and a ban from the UK. Notably, there is no right of appeal against such rejections.
Da Silva's lawyer, Naga Kandiah, has initiated a legal challenge, arguing that the rejection violates the EU withdrawal agreement and misapplies guidance. Kandiah calls for the acceptance of Da Silva's application and the introduction of an appeal process for similar cases.
The Home Office, having tightened criteria for "reasonable grounds" for late applicants in August 2023, faced increased invalid applications, with 9,470 in August and 13,930 in September, significantly higher than previous averages.
Andreea Dumitrache from the 3 million, advocating for EU citizens' rights, expressed concern about the unjust punishment and vulnerability caused by the stringent criteria. The Home Office defended the EU Settlement Scheme, stating its continued acceptance of late applications with reasonable grounds, emphasizing the scheme's role in securing immigration status for EU citizens in the post-Brexit era.