EU citizens in UK 'being denied mortgages over Brexit uncertainty'

EU citizens living in Britain are being denied mortgages because of the uncertainty of whether they will be allowed to stay after Brexit, according to a French official.

Patricia Connell, a French national who has lived in Britain for 30 years, said she has already heard of banks refusing to grant loans.

She also claimed some employers are breaking discrimination laws by only offering EU citizens fixed term contracts if they cannot provide proof of permanent residency.

Mrs Connell, who holds a joint British citizenship and is married to an Englishman, runs the website France In London and is elected to represent the French in the UK.

"We know the banks are already turning down people for mortgages when they don't have permanent residency, because they don't know if the people are going to be allowed to stay here," she said.

"They don't want to take the risk, so that is already happening.

"And even though it's not legal we are also hearing of employers asking for proof of permanent residency, and if you can't show that they just give you a fixed-term contract.

"Not everyone is doing it but we have heard cases where it is happening even though it's not legal."

Aside from jobs, she said people are also fearful that without residency they would be denied access to the NHS.

"We fear people who do not have residency will not have access to the NHS and so we believe the only way you will be able to get access to the NHS is if you have permanent residency.

"The only way you will be able to do that is to go through all the hoops, and we are advising people to do this."

Mrs Connell has been involved in speaking at events for EU citizens, advising them on what Brexit could mean.

This has been linked to The3Million campaign, a not-for-profit group which is campaigning to safeguard the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

She said: "In an ideal world we would all be allowed to stay here without having to show we have been lawfully here, and that is what we have been campaigning for.

"But we are also asking the Government to make it much simpler to apply for a permanent residence card.

"The process needs to be simplified - rather than having an 85-page document, it should be like Germany, where it is just four pages."

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