Fred Sirieix, best known as the charismatic maître d' on Channel 4 reality show First Dates, has received an apology from the Home Office after confusion around his settled status in the UK after Brexit.
The 47-year-old has lived in Britain for almost three decades, having moved from his native France to work in a variety of fine dining establishments.
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Sirieix, who has been the face of First Dates since the show launched in 2013, tweeted on Monday night that the Home Office was requiring him to provide proof of residence, despite his history in the UK.
“Is this a joke?” he tweeted to his 110,000 followers. “I have lived here for 27 years continuously.”
. @patel4witham @ukhomeoffice Just got a letter from firstname.lastname@example.org apparently you need proof I have been in the UK for last 5 years. Is this a joke? I have lived here for 27 years continuously.— Fred Sirieix (@fredsirieix1) September 2, 2019
On Tuesday morning, the TV personality — who has been a constant voice against Brexit — wrote that he had received a phone call from the Home Office apologising for their mistake and affirming that there was no need for Sirieix, as a permanent UK resident, to apply for settled status anyway.
He continued, however, to describe how uncomfortable the experience had made him feel.
“As small as this may seem to some, the whole thing was deeply upsetting and unsettling,” he tweeted.
He added: “After all these years in the UK it is so wrong to make people feel like second class citizens.”
Sirieix also tweeted the hashtag “#brexitshambles” as he shared his frustration with the process of applying for settled status.
Good news! @ukhomeoffice both called and emailed me. They apologised for the mistake. As a permanent resident with ILR there was no need to apply in the first place. Still I have been granted #settledstatus with immediate effect.— Fred Sirieix (@fredsirieix1) September 3, 2019
A Home Office spokesman said: "We have contacted Mr Sirieix about his application and he has now been granted settled status.
“Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status.
"EU Settlement Scheme statistics confirm that by the end of June not a single person had been refused.
"EU citizens are our friends, family and neighbours and we want them to stay."
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First Dates has been a popular part of the Channel 4 schedule and has aired 10 seasons since 2013.
The channel has also aired celebrity versions, seasonal specials and spin-off series First Dates Hotel.