In response to the recently published EU-UK Joint Report, Disire — the disabled people’s organisation (DPO) of disabled international residents in the UK — made the following statement:
For disabled EU citizens and carers, the EU-UK deal is a disappointment. Not all disabled people are able to work or work sufficiently and therefore sometimes do not meet the criteria for permanent residence. Carers of disabled people, who care for their (often British) relatives also cannot apply for a permanent residence card because the Home Office does not consider them to be “working“. The newly proposed settled status is still based on the criteria of exercising treaty rights. People who want to apply must show they have worked, have been self-employed, have studied or have been self-sufficient for five years.
Disire believes that disabled people and carers play a vital role in Britain and should not be prevented from obtaining permanent residence or settled status. Theresa May has promised not to split up families. Disabled people have families too. Disabled people and carers must not be left behind when developing a new status for EU citizens.
Disire is disappointed that the EU-UK deal does not make any mention of disabled people and carers or other suppressed groups who cannot and will not fulfil the criteria for the proposed settled status.
If the settled status becomes reality as proposed, it means that a person must be present AND exercising EU treaty rights, which would make it impossible for many disabled people and carers to obtain the new proposed status. The proposed “transition period” would not help them either, as their impairments are permanent and they cannot change the fact that they are disabled.
We ask the European Union negotiators and the UK government urgently to ensure that any new arrangements regarding the right to stay in the UK for EEA citizens does not discriminate against disabled people, their families and carers. Any new arrangements and rights must have disabled people and their families in mind. That means any new status, rights or arrangements need to have provisions for disabled people who cannot fulfil the requirements due to their impairment, illness or condition. If necessary, people with carers’ duties must also have provisions made for them if these duties prevent them from meeting the requirements. These provisions are important to meet the legal requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Equality Act 2010 and other laws. (December 2017)