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Whitstable bookshop owner 'living with anxiety' over EU settlement status application delay ahead of Brexit

A bookshop owner who has lived in the UK for almost 40 years is "living with anxiety" over Brexit - as she still awaits approval to stay in the country.

Tiziana "Tizy" Mazzoli, who lives in Whitstable, is now considering selling her business as she fears she could be booted out of Britain.

Tiziana Mazzoli outside the Oxford Street Bookshop (19832936)
Tiziana Mazzoli outside the Oxford Street Bookshop (19832936)

The 59-year-old Italian national blasted the Home Office for the delays to her EU settlement status application.

All EU citizens living in the UK must apply to the scheme before June 30, 2021, to allow them to stay in the country legally.

The grandmother, who runs the Oxford Street Bookshop, applied on September 2 but is still waiting for answers.

She said: "It is bad enough for an individual but having a business as well and waiting for an answer - what can I do? So I have to consider selling the business because I have to prepare myself.

"My family and friends know I am not cheerful and not smiling.

Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell
Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell

"I am a well-organised person, I am very hard-working and I will achieve anything - this is not the way to run a business and it is scary.

"[The Home Office] has let me down."

When she arrived in the country in 1980, she was given a document which gave her indefinite leave to remain in the UK - which means there is no time limit on a person's stay. But now, she says, that "is not enough".

"Two weeks after applying, I phoned the Home Office and was told my application is moving on and it is waiting for a case worker," she said.

"After that I waited two more weeks but I wasn't going to phone again.

"My family and friends know I am not cheerful and not smiling..." Tiziana Mazzoli

"I emailed and asked, 'why the delay with my application?'. They said 'when we are ready, we will be in touch with you'. That was nearly three weeks ago.

"I am living with anxiety. People are feeling down and depressed who are in my situation.

"If tomorrow they say I can't stay, what do I do? I have started preparing myself and started thinking about what I should do just in case.

"The other choice is to go back to my country or somewhere in Europe and set up a similar business."

Miss Mazzoli previously compared possible complications with the scheme to the Windrush Scandal, where people were wrongly deported by the Home Office.

She told KentOnline how she got "stressed" during the application process as it was “not straightforward” and took her more than five days to complete.

A Home Office spokesman previously said: “The average time to complete the application process is 10 minutes and it is free. Ms Mazzoli could have sent her passport by post and had it sent straight back for free.

“Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is quick and easy, and over a million people have been granted status so far in the first few months since fully launching.

“It protects the rights of EU citizens in UK law and gives them a secure digital status which, unlike a physical document, cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with."

Have you been affected? Email bharper@thekmgroup.co.uk

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