Couple 'devastated' after London-born children denied UK residency

Francesca Gillett
Jan-Dinant Schreuder and Monica Obiols, both 49, applied for their children to be given permanent residency: Facebook

A couple said they are “devastated” after their London-born children were blocked from being recognised as permanent UK residents.

Jan-Dinant Schreuder and Monica Obiols have lived in the UK for most of their lives but after the Brexit vote the pair grew panicked about their family's right to remain in Britain.

Following the referendum Mr Schreuder, 49, who has lived in the UK since he was three, applied for an indefinite leave to remain, which he was granted by the Home Office.

His partner, special needs teacher Ms Obiols, also 49, was also granted a permanent residency card after having lived in Britain since 1988.

But despite the Dutch and Spanish couple’s claims being approved, the Guardian reported that the Home Office refused the applications for their two children, aged 15 and 12.

A Home Office letter was reportedly sent to the couple claiming there was not enough evidence showing the children’s life in the UK.

Ms Obiols told the Guardian: “What evidence are they supposed to have? They don’t have council tax bills or proof of where they live. They are children.

“They have gone to school here all their lives, English is their mother tongue. I was just so shocked when we got the refusal letters.”

She said she had attached copies of the children's birth certificates in the applications.

The children do not qualify for British citizenship because, despite being born in the UK, their parents were born abroad.

Anyone who is born in the UK after 1983 can only become a British citizen if one of their parents has UK citizenship.

The Home Office letter, reportedly signed on behalf of Amber Rudd, said: “You have not provided evidence that you have resided in the United Kingdom in accordance with those Regulations [European Economic Area immigration rules] for a continuous period of five years.”

Ms Obiols called it “surreal” and said she and her partner are “devastated”.

A Home Office spokeswoman told the Standard: "EEA nationals are not required to apply for documentation confirming their status and their rights remain unchanged while we are a member of the European Union - so there was never any risk of the family being split up.

"The rules clearly state that people applying for permanent residence documentation must demonstrate they have lived in the UK for the last five years. This includes applications for children.

"In this case, the required evidence was not provided, but we have made contact with the applicant and are in the process of resolving the situation.”

The Home Office said evidence showing children have lived in the UK for the last five years can include a letter from their school.