Chef Damian Wawrzyniak has received more than 200 pleas for help in the three days since launching a Facebook page to support those who, like him, were denied permanent residency in the UK by the Home Office.
The chef-proprietor of House of Feast restaurant in Peterborough, who has lived and worked in the UK for 15 years, was told he would be given only pre-settled status by the government last week, a decision that would have required him to apply again for the right to stay permanently in the UK in five years’ time.
Originally from Poland, Wawrzyniak described receiving pre-settled status as a “great sadness after so many years of hard work, paying taxes and employing staff”.
The Home Office today reversed its decision and gave the chef settled status, however it had become clear that many others are in the same situation. These include Richard Bertinet, who has lived in the UK continuously since 1988 and runs the Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School in Bath.
Wawrzyniak responded by setting up a Facebook support page, which has already been contacted by more than 200 people who he is putting in touch with immigration experts to support them through the appeal process.
He explained: “There are many people like me who have been here more than five years and some of them will ignore the letter and in five years they will become illegal.”
The Home Office has said: “Automatic checks against government data are making it simple for many people to apply successfully and in 79% of concluded cases during testing, applicants did not need to provide any further evidence of residence.
“One million EU citizens and their families have been granted status so far and they have until at least December 2020 to make an application.”
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