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Interview with...

Guillaume Bazard Consul Général

In this exclusive interview with INFO magazine, Guillaume Bazard, the French Consul Général, speaks about Brexit and the impact on French citizens in the UK

T

he French Consulate General in London is one of the largest

has been decided in rules. Not in legislation but in secondary

French consulates in the world. It takes care of the French

legislation – which is an issue in itself – however, there is no

community in the UK on a day-to-day basis, by issuing passports

reason to think that it will not continue to be in place in the

and IDs, and registering births, marriages and deaths. They

future for the people who are here now. The immigration rules

administer elections – recently setting up 36 polling stations

for the people who will arrive later is another story.

across the country for the European MEPs – and issue visas

I don’t see it as likely that the government would suddenly

for foreign visitors to France. Last year, they issued roughly

change and give up on settled status, but there might be

125,000 visas, of which the majority went to Chinese or Indian

adjustments. Our responsibility is to see what is on the table

citizens living in the UK. Guillaume Bazard took up his role as

and what is open to the public. We ensure sure that French

Consul Général on 3 September 2018.

people are aware of the rules and encourage them to apply.

What impact has Brexit had on your activities at the

How many applications for settled status have been made

consulate?

so far?

Brexit has brought an increase in all of our activities. What we

The Home Office published statistics in June, which showed

call ‘Etat Civil’ (civil registration of French citizens living in the

that 788,000 Europeans living in the UK have applied for

UK) has increased. In the past, many French nationals living

settled status. We have more detailed statistics up to 31 May,

here didn’t find it necessary to register their marriages or the

where the figures are broken down by nationality. These

births of their children to the French Consulate.

show that 32,300 French people have applied, which is a little

Brexit caused them to think twice, because suddenly they

bit less than 20 percent of the number of registered French

did not know what was going to happen. There has also been

people in the UK. And it’s probably less in percentage if we’re

a huge increase in issuing passports. To illustrate the point,

talking about what we think is the total French population in

last year we issued 37,000 passports and IDs. Each year since

the country.

the referendum result, we have issued an increase of ten percent.

This means that a good proportion of people are informed and taking it seriously. For the rest, they have time, at least until the 31 December 2020 if there is no deal, and 31 June

Are you confident that settled status is a long-term

2021 if the deal is approved. There’s no hurry, there’s no panic.

solution for French citizens living in the UK?

But we have to continue our efforts to inform people and to

When we talk about Brexit, certainty is something that is quite

reach out to those who are difficult to contact – which is my

difficult to comment on. But as things are today, settled status

main concern.

10 - info - summer 2019

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