A POLITICIAN and economist who has lived in the UK for 19 years, is married to a British man and has two British children has been denied ‘settled status’ by the Home Office.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers was told she had not produced documents from the last five years that showed why she should be able to stay in the UK after Brexit.

EU citizens – along with those from other nations – can apply as part of the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to live in the UK after June 30, 2021.

The Liberal Democrat, who was elected in May, said she was ‘angry’ about the way EU nationals were being treated but was confident her case would be sorted eventually.

The district councillor in South Oxfordshire has so far been able to obtain pre-settled status, which gives her fewer rights than settled status.

Originally from Bulgaria, she said she is concerned about how other EU nationals currently living in the UK will fare.

“The biggest worry for me is that there is a huge danger for people who are economically inactive or those who have studied for a long time.

“A lot of us come [to the UK] as students.”

The Home Office asks applicants to provide a record of their previous work – with those who have taken time out of work seemingly at a disadvantage to those who have not.

That is something that the Goring councillor worries could put mothers who might have taken maternity leave, for example, at a disadvantage.

The microeconomist said: “Settled status can work – if you came here five years ago and worked for an employer and they paid tax on your behalf.

“Many people will not be in that position. If you think about that skill spectrum, a lot are on zero-hour contracts or in the construction sector and some might be casually employed.

“I’m not worried [for myself].

I’m angry, I realise the implications. I can access legal advice – but that comes at a cost.

I, most likely, will be absolutely fine but it’s the journey that I’m on [with other EU nationals].”

The councillor, who is currently South Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for community services, arrived in the UK to take her A-Levels, before studying at Newcastle University.

She said she worries EU citizens will ‘face barriers’ doing everyday activities – such as getting a job, opening a bank account or renting a home – if they do not gain settled status in the future.

Last week, the chancellor Sajid Javid said there ‘shouldn’t be a single person that should be concerned about their status’ after Brexit.

The current scheme was launched in March for EU nationals living here to establish a permanent right to stay.

But people being given pre-settled status increased in July.

New home secretary Priti Patel said last month that freedom of movement for EU residents would end on October 31, the planned date for Brexit.

Swindon Advertiser:

But with that date now uncertain, she reversed that policy last week and said EU migrants will be given three years’ temporary leave to remain.

Experts had reportedly warned the government such a deadline would have been impossible to implement.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Ms Filipova-Rivers cannot have been denied settled status because she is yet to make an application. We would encourage her to contact the Resolution Centre if she is struggling to complete the quick and easy application process.

“Nobody applying to the EU Settlement Scheme has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.

“The Scheme has been deliberately designed to be as accepting as possible and our caseworkers are looking for reasons to accept. Applicants do not need to have been in work or paying tax and only need to demonstrate that they have been resident in the country before 31 October 2019.”