Foods

Top chef who cooked for Olympics and Royals ‘denied’ settled status after Brexit

A top chef who has cooked for the London Olympics and the Royal Family has slammed the government for denying him full settled status after Brexit .

Damian Wawrzyniak told the Mirror he moved to the UK from Poland in 2005 and has lived in Britain full-time since.

But today the dad-of-two received a letter from the Home Office saying he would be granted “pre-settled status” – not the full settled status available to EU citizens who have lived here more than five years.

If the decision is not overturned, it will mean the 39-year-old – who has baked with Mary Berry in a BBC show – is forced to apply again for full settled status within five years.

It would also mean he must maintain continuous residence in the UK to ensure he earns the right to stay from 2022.

The chef – who has vowed to appeal – posted a screenshot the letter on Twitter writing: “Have lived in the UK for 15 years. Always employed, without gaps, now running own restaurant. Paid thousands of pounds in taxes.

 



The chef posted a screenshot of his Home Office letter on Twitter

“Employing several people in our restaurant, directly and indirectly.

“NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO GET SETTLED STATUS. This is ridiculous.”

It comes as hardline Home Secretary Priti Patel draws up fresh plans to end free movement for EU citizens on the first day of a no-deal Brexit.

Critics have warned of another Windrush-style scandal if Border Force officials can’t tell the difference between citizens who are and aren’t eligible to stay.

Any EU citizen who has moved to Britain before October 31 should normally be allowed to stay, as long as they qualify for settled status.

But more than 2million EU citizens have not yet applied for settled status in the UK, and the deadline to apply is only December 2020.

The 39-year-old has lived here for 15 years and set up acclaimed restaurant House of Feasts outside Peterborough, Cambs.

He said in May he had thought Brexit would support British farmers but “my views changed” and he now believes it was the “wrong decision” for Britain. He did not vote in the 2016 referendum because he has a Polish passport.



The Cambridges on their 2017 visit to Gdansk

The chef was  invited to cook Polish delicacies for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Gdansk in 2017 as Britain’s Polish food ambassador – the same trip where they are said to have conceived Louis, one.

Damian served traditional Polish lard with sourdough bread and pickles, and brined tartare of Baltic Sea wild herring with Fenland shallots.

In March, he cooked four tastes of Poland for Princess Anne and has also met ex-PM Theresa May , the Hairy Bikers and GBBO star Mary Berry.

He was also in charge of the Champagne and Seafood Restaurant at the 2012 London Olympics.

“It’s a really sad situation,” he blasted.

“We are the victims of a bad system.

“People are going through looking for loopholes to kick people out, and I am one of the victims.

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“I have given so much to the UK and never asked for anything in return.

“I have never been on any benefits, I’ve paid my taxes, I employ people at my restaurant and this is how the UK is thanking me.”

He added: “I have treated the UK as my home. But it is not just me, there are millions of other people in the same situation.

“My message to other people in my situation is do not ignore this.

“There are many people who don’t speak English, find a friend or help from elsewhere and appeal or reapply until you are successful.

“In five years we will all be illegal.”

Mr Wawrzyniak told the Mirror he and other family members applied for settled status last week and he was asked to provide further details.

He said his partner’s mother also failed to obtain full settled status, instead being offered ‘pre-settled’ status to 2022. He said the Home Office did not explain in its letter why he was granted ‘pre-settled’ status.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Mr Wawrzyniak has already been granted pre-settled status under the Scheme, but our caseworkers have contacted 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.”

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