"Angry and confused": Richard Bertinet denied permanent settled status

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Richard Bertinet reacts to being denied permanent settled status under the UK government's post-Brexit EU Settlement Scheme

Related tags: brexit, Chef, Uk government

French chef Richard Bertinet is calling on hospitality employers to support staff applying under the EU Settlement Scheme, after his own application was denied.

The Brittany-born baker, who owns a cooking school and bakery in Bath, applied to the scheme after seeing coverage of it on the news.

However, despite living in the UK for 31 years and having a British wife and three British children, Bertinet was only granted only granted pre-settled status, which is usually given to those who have lived in the UK for less than five years.

“I was angry and confused,” Bertinet tells BigHospitality​.

“The Home Office said I had been successful, but that wasn’t true as I had applied for settled status”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Mr Bertinet applied for, and was granted pre-settled status under the Scheme, but our caseworkers have been in contact with him to assist him in providing the evidence needed to be granted settled status.

"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.”

As part of the government’s post-Brexit plans, EU citizens will have to apply via the settlement scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

Bertinet posted a copy of his email from the Home Office on social media after receiving it, where it went viral.

He says he has subsequently been contacted by the Home Office who told him that his application was rejected because he pressed the wrong button, and asked to appeal and reapply.

“I hope my case can help alert people to the situation across the industry and beyond,” he says.

“I think all hospitality employers should be making sure they make their staff aware of what could happen if they don’t apply under the scheme as the consequences could be chaotic.

“Staff could travel home to see their families for Christmas, for example, and find that they’re unable to return.”

Bertinet isn’t the only high-profile, European chef to recently be denied permanent settled status.

Polish-born Damian Wawrzyniak also hit the headlines recently after he was only approved for a pre-settled status too, despite living and working in the UK for nearly 15 years.

The chef, who has previously cooked for the royal family, took to social media following the decision and has since been granted permanent settled status following an appeal.

Chef-Damian-Wawrzyniak-to-oversee-London-s-Salt-Flakes-restaurant_wrbm_large
Damian Wawrzyniak

Wawrzyniak is now working on strategies to help reduce Pre-Settlement status issues for EU citizens living in UK, and has set up a support page on Facebook​ where people facing similar circumstances can receive help and advice from qualified immigration officers free of charge. 

“More than 5m have been speaking about this on social media in the last few days,” he tells BigHospitality​.

“And it’s becoming clear that lots of people are facing the same problem; the difference is they don’t have the same levels of press coverage to help support them.”

 In June, Wawrzyniak also launched a petition​ calling on the wording of the scheme to be changed.

“There should be a registration process, not an application process,” he says.

“I’ve lived in the UK for nearly 15 years, I’ve worked here and I’ve paid my taxes, and yet at the moment I have to apply if I want to stay in my own home; it’s just wrong.”

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