AFrench woman recently shared her distressing experience of losing her job in Shropshire and feeling disheartened about life in the UK due to complications in the post-Brexit immigration process for EU citizens. Sophie, who is married to a British man, had resided in the UK for five years prior to Brexit but returned to France in 2020 following a family tragedy.

Despite being aware of missing the June 2021 deadline, Sophie applied to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in early 2022, as the government’s website indicated consideration of late applications with “reasonable grounds.” Unfortunately, her application was rejected, citing insufficient evidence that she continued to live with her husband in France, which left her perplexed.

Seeking legal counsel, Sophie initiated a formal appeal through the asylum and immigration tribunal system, available to all EUSS applicants. Not receiving a certificate of application, a crucial document confirming the right to work and live in the UK during EUSS processing, raised suspicions. However, utilizing a “share code,” a digital identifier from the Home Office, she proved her right to work and secured employment in a logistics firm.


Despite ongoing employment, a subsequent right-to-work check in December 2023 revealed a loss of work rights, leading to her dismissal. Facing potential fines for hiring illegal workers, Sophie found herself unemployed since December, especially challenging amidst a cost of living crisis. Expressing her heartbreak, she emphasized her desire to contribute to society through work, rather than relying on benefits.

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Upon inquiries by The Guardian, the Home Office suggested that Sophie might have applied through the wrong route in the EUSS, advising that she should have applied directly to the scheme instead of the family permit. This discrepancy may also explain the absence of a certificate of application. Sophie, now seeking legal guidance, has reapplied to the EUSS, hoping her late application will be accepted.

Reflecting on the past two years, Sophie highlighted the lack of guidance or a designated case worker to assist with her rights, describing the system as seemingly set up for failure and favoring paid-for visa routes. A Home Office spokesperson reiterated the acceptance of late EUSS applications for those with reasonable grounds, emphasizing that more than two years have elapsed since the main application deadline.

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