Call for evidence: Comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK

Have you or your family been refused permanent residence in the UK because you did not have private healthcare insurance?

The EU Rights Clinic would like to hear from you!

At present, the UK does not accept that reliance on the public healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), constitutes a valid form of comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI) for the purposes of claiming a right of residence in the UK on the basis of Directive 2004/38 as given effect by the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016.

The Home Office systematically refuses to issue residence documentation to EEA students and EEA migrants who do not work, as well as their family members, on the sole basis that they rely on the NHS for their healthcare needs.

This is despite the fact that, as a matter of UK law, all persons who are ordinarily resident in the UK can access the NHS for free at the point of use.

This has led to a number of reports in the press of EU citizens in the UK being refused permanent residence because they did not hold CSI during the time they did not work in the UK.

The EU Rights Clinic considers this to be a major breach of EU law. We intend on raising the issue once more with the EU institutions. We would therefore like to hear from those who have been affected by the UK’s policy on CSI.

We are therefore calling upon EU citizens living in the UK who have been refused permanent residence because they did not have private healthcare to contact us by email and share their experiences. Please send us your story to eurightsclinic@gmail.com please insert “UK CSI” in the subject of your email).

We hope to use this information to formulate a complaint to the EU institutions so they can bring an end to the restrictive policy of the UK authorities.

All information received will be treated confidentially and will not be divulged without your explicit consent.

Thank you!

The EU Rights Clinic

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“5 Takeaways on Brexit”: Read Our Study on Brexit and Citizens’ Rights

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, a number of studies have looked into the financial and economic impact of Brexit, but none has undertaken a thorough analysis of the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for citizens’ rights. With more than 3 million EU citizens resident in the UK and over 1 million UK citizens residing in other Member States, whose rights in those countries will be directly affected, there is a great deal of uncertainty about their future legal status.

Access the full study – Access the policy digest

This study is divided in two parts. The first part analyses the impact of Brexit on the main series of rights that are bestowed on citizens by virtue of their EU citizenship, including the right of entry, the right of residence, the right to work, social security rights, the right to establish a business and to provide services, consumer protection rights, passenger rights, the right to non-discrimination, voting rights and the rights of access to the EU institutions. The second part looks into the impact of Brexit on the ability of UK-based organisations to continue to access EU public funding streams, an issue which has raised a lot of concern especially from UK universities and innovation-driven entities, which are among the top beneficiaries of EU funding in the UK.

As part of its mission to empower citizens to exercise their rights in the EU, the EU Rights Clinic, in partnership with ECAS, the European Disability Forum and the New Europeans, has considered the impact of Brexit on citizens’ rights under different scenarios compared to the rights that citizens currently enjoy whilst the UK is a full member of the EU. The study analyses in addition the possible repercussions of Brexit for the access of UK-based entities to EU funding streams

The study has been produced by a team comprised of Professor Anthony Valcke, Supervising Solicitor at the EU Rights Clinic, in collaboration with ECAS Director, Assya Kavrakova, ECAS Membership and Outreach Manager, Marta Pont, and ECAS intern Connor Brown from the University of Sheffield. New Europeans and the European Disability Forum have contributed, respectively, to the analysis on voting rights and on non-discrimination rights.

Call for Evidence: Problems with Personnummer in Sweden

Are you facing problems in getting your personnummer?

Are you an EU citizen who is unable to register your residence in Sweden?

The EU Rights Clinic can help!

In Sweden, getting a personummer is essential to lead a normal life in the country.

As EU citizens, we are meant to enjoy free movement across borders in all EU countries and to be treated in the same way as nationals of the country where we live.

However, for EU citizens who live in Sweden obtaining this important number is often a headache.

In recent times EU citizens have found difficulties in obtaining a personnummer and this is why we are initiating a complaint against the Swedish authorities in charge of issuing this number.

We are therefore calling upon EU citizens living in Sweden who have been refused a personnummer by the Skatteverket in 2016 to contact us by email (eurightsclinic@gmail.com) and share their experiences.

We are particularly interested in finding out the reasons given by the Swedish authorities for refusing to issue you with a personnummer.

We hope to use this information to formulate a complaint to the EU institutions so they can bring an end to the restrictive policy of the Swedish authorities on personnummer.

If you or anyone you know have had such difficulties in migrating to Sweden due to this issue, please contact us by email (eurightsclinic@gmail.com) and let us know your experience!

All information received will be treated confidentially and will not be divulged without your explicit consent.

Tack så mycket!

The EU Rights Clinic

Expulsion Helpdesk: EU Rights Clinic and Europe4People join forces to help EU citizens in Belgium

Have you received an EXPULSION ORDER from the Belgian Immigration Office? Is your residence status under investigation? Are you worried about your situation and you do not know what to do?

Don’t panic! But don’t delay in getting help!

The Helpdesk for EU Citizens Facing Expulsion can HELP you to get the advice you need.

WHEN? Every Thursday evening from 18:00 to 20:00

WHERE? At the Centre Culturel Garcia Lorca, Rue des Foulons 47-49, 1000 Brussels

HOW? Please book your appointment by email helpdesk [AT] europe4people.org or use the contact form here.

Do not forget to bring all your documents!

You can watch coverage of the Helpdesk on EuroNews.

This service is free of charge and intended only for EU citizens and their family members

Seven Strategies to Improve the Free Movement of Persons

EU Rights Clinic and ECAS launch Right to Move Campaign

RightToMove Logo OFFICIAL The EU Rights Clinic and ECAS have launched the Right to Move campaign, which consists in advocating for seven strategies to improve the free movement of persons in the EU.

The free movement of persons is one of the cornerstones of the EU’s Single Market and is a right deeply cherished by citizens in Europe today.

This campaign is a response to the recent and unprecedented calls made by several governments for imposing further restrictions on the free movement of people based on unsubstantiated claims about the impact of the EU rules.

In order to counter these accusations, we believe that it is important to seize the initiative and propose measures aimed at ensuring that the free movement rules can work better for all EU citizens.

We are therefore launching the Right to Move campaign based on seven strategies to improve the free movement of persons in the EU:

  1. Directive 2004/38 should be recast into a Regulation

This would reduce divergence in administrative formalities in the EU and further facilitate the exercise of the right of free movement by EU citizens and their family members. Click here for our first strategy paper.

  1. The Commission’s powers of investigation should be strengthened

The Commission needs to have a full range of measures at its disposal to investigate and enforce the free movement rules more efficiently and fulfil its mission as Guardian of the EU Treaties. Read the second strategy paper.

  1. Member states should collate better statistics on the free movement of persons

The collection of data on the free movement of EU citizens and their family members would encourage better evidence-based policy-making by the Member States as well as the EU. Find out more about this strategy paper.

  1. Member states should deepen their collaboration on the free movement of persons

Member States can only develop appropriate and effective responses to challenges generated by the free movement of persons through cooperation guided by independent expertise. Click here for the strategy paper.

  1. Civil society organisations should be empowered to help citizens overcome obstacles

Empowering civil society groups to inform and assist mobile citizens will ensure that these citizens can make effective use of those rights and overcome obstacles that may come their way. Read more about this strategy here.

  1. Judgments of the EU Court of Justice prior to 2004 should be translated into all languages

Citizens and their advisers need to be able to rely on the relevant judgments of the EU Court of Justice in all EU official languages irrespective of when the judgment may have been issued. Further details about our proposed sixth strategy can be found here.

  1. A pro free movement counterfactual should be developed to refute anti-migrant rhetoric

Politicians who believe in the benefits of European integration must learn to present the benefits of free movement using similar tactics and terminology deployed by populist politicians. Click here for the final strategy.

We hope you will endorse the campaign and we thank you in advance for your support.

The views expressed on the blog are personal to the authors and should not be seen as constituting legal advice. It should not be relied upon instead of consulting a lawyer or immigration adviser.

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University of Kent at Brussels helps establish new EU Rights Clinic

Students studying migration law at the University of Kent at Brussels are helping provide advice for EU citizens at a new EU Rights Clinic.

Working in partnership with qualified citizens’ advice rights lawyers, the Clinic is helping to provide members of the public with free advice on European legislation and other legal issues.

Modelled on the University’s successful Kent Law Clinic, the EU Rights Clinic has been jointly established by its Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), Kent Law School and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS).

The University recently received an EU Jean Monnet grant to develop a new module titled Teaching EU Migration Law Through Clinical Legal Education. Students taking this module study EU law in action by working at the new EU Rights Clinic.

Anthony Valcke, module convenor who established the new Clinic, said: ‘The mission of this new EU Rights Clinic is to help EU citizens and their family members resolve any problems they may encounter when moving around the EU and assist them in enforcing their European rights.

‘This assistance is provided by students enrolled on our EU Migration Law course at the University of Kent at Brussels, working in partnership with qualified lawyers and citizens’ rights advisers.

‘Its launch coincides with the European Year of Citizens and the EU Rights Clinic promises to play an important role in providing help to EU citizens in legal need who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.’

The EU Rights Clinic is currently based at the ECAS office and advice meetings need to be arranged by appointment. It is hoped a public ‘walk-in’ service will be on offer when a suitable new building is ready in January 2016.

The award-winning Kent Law Clinic is a partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice in Kent. It has two objects: to provide a public service for local people who need legal advice and representation but cannot afford to pay for it, and to enhance the education of students in the Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.

The Kent Law Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, most recently having been awarded the prestigious LawWorks Attorney General’s Award 2012 for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its Access to Land project. It was shortlisted for the legal industry leading The Lawyer Awards in 2010 and in 2012, alongside a number of magic circle firms, and in 2007 the Clinic was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, with staff and students from the Clinic collecting the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Contact: M.J.Herrema@kent.ac.uk