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Brexit and direct action

Convictions for activism-related offences could lead to some European activists being forced to leave the UK

Let’s be aware that our international friends might need our support in all sorts of ways during Brexit chaos.

Being convicted for peace actions may stop activists from the remaining 27 EU countries from continuing to live in the UK.

If they want to have ‘settled’ status and remain in the UK after Brexit, EU27 citizens will have to answer three ‘simple’ questions online, according to the home office.

People will be asked to: show who they are; prove that they have mainly been living in the UK over the last five years; and say whether they have any criminal convictions.

Serious or repeated?

The British government’s EU settlement scheme website says: ‘If you’ve only been convicted of a minor crime, for example you’ve had a speeding fine, you’ll still be eligible for settled or pre-settled status.

‘You may still get settled or pre-settled status even if you have other convictions. This will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

‘If you’ve been to prison, you’ll usually need at least five years’ continuous residence from the day you were released to be considered for settled status.’

Most importantly, the settlement scheme website says that the home office will check if you have committed ‘serious’ or ‘repeated’ crimes, and if you pose a ‘security threat’.

I have some records of Trident Ploughshares court cases including Big Blockades and have sometimes been able to provide people with info about their court appearances when they have needed them for forms and can’t remember them.

The EU settlement scheme (which is only online, and requires Android smartphones or tablets for certain functions) will open fully by 30 March.

The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, though Brexit deadlines and schemes are changing all the time. There is a test phase running now.

Jane Tallents is involved in the Trident Ploughshares nonviolent direct action network: www.tridentploughshares.org