Council to launch EU resident support programme

Release Date: 17 November 2017

European nationals living in Richmond upon Thames will soon be able to use a new Passport Return Service and have access to a new local advice scheme, following agreement by Richmond Council.

At a Cabinet Meeting last night, Members agreed a package of measures to support the borough’s European residents in light of the Government’s overall plans to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, once the country leaves the EU.

Members approved that the Council will establish a new European Passport Return Service (EPRS), new EU resident advice service and in addition, the Council will carry out a consultation with local businesses to determine their concerns relating to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

It is hoped that the Passport Return Service will launch in February 2018. It will be open to any European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals, once they have applied online to the Home Office.

The service will allow eligible residents to bring their passports to the Register Office in Twickenham to be verified and copied. The Council will then send copies to the Home Office.

A new local EU advice service will launch in the next few months through Citizens Advice Richmond. This will able EU residents to get impartial, expert advice on nationality matters or the impact of the Government’s proposals and options available for them.

Acknowledging that local, independent, businesses will also be impacted, the Council will shortly carry out a survey to determine their concerns and priorities relating to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

This survey would help establish a more detailed understanding of the potential impact that the proposals currently being negotiated may have on their competitiveness or growth. The Council will then use this information to identify any further actions it may wish to take either through promoting emerging opportunities or helping to mitigate potential negative impacts.

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“The last census showed us that there are nearly 13,000 EU passport holders living in the borough, with an additional 4,000 Irish passport holders.

“All of these residents are valued members of our community. They contribute greatly to our borough. They enrich our culture, our vitality and are part of the spirit that makes Richmond upon Thames a great place to live, work and be educated.

“I know that many of them will be concerned about their future in the UK. And, whilst I can add my voice to the growing number of Council Leaders pressing for speedier resolution of our EU nationals’ long term security, we want to provide the support that is within our control as a local Council.

“These new passport and advice services will hopefully provide some support to those who are concerned. And, in hearing from our local businesses in our survey, we will work together to support them in whatever way we reasonably can.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159. 

Reference: P534/17

Updated: 1 December 2017