SNP URGE UK GOVERNMENT TO ISSUE AUTOMATIC PERMANENT RESIDENCY TO EU NATIONALS AND FAMILIES IN UK
The Security Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, has said that EU nationals lacking settled status after the 2021 deadline could be removed from the UK.
Mr Lewis’ threat came in an interview today with German newspaper Die Welt and is the first time the UK government has admitted what could happen to EU citizens living in the UK if they do not apply for settled or pre-settled status by the deadline.
The SNP has consistently called on the UK government to implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and their families already in the UK to avoid a situation similar to the Windrush scandal, saying that it is impossible the settled status scheme will achieve 100% registration. Even missing the target by 10% would see hundreds of thousands of EU nationals removed from the UK or placed in a situation where just leading a life would be impossible.
The SNP is also calling for the insecure concept of pre-settled status to be scrapped after figures revealed an alarming number or EU nationals were given this status instead of “settled” status, resulting in them having to face another application and more uncertainty in the future.
Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Immigration Stuart McDonald MP said:
“This statement from a UK minister is utterly deplorable. Instead of issuing threats to EU citizens who have spent years building their lives here, he should be focusing on supporting them to stay.
“It is a clear admission that there are fundamental problems with the settled status scheme and a very real potential for hundreds of thousands of people to go from being legal residents to undocumented migrants overnight - yet the Tories continue to wilfully sit on their hands and do nothing to address it.
“The UK government is completely ignoring this looming threat that would not only see thousands of of people being forced to leave their home in the UK, but leave thousands more unable to work, rent somewhere to live, access free healthcare, and open a bank account in order to continue living their life in the UK.
“It is time the Tories at Westminster stopped playing with peoples’ lives and implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and family members already here, enshrined in law – otherwise we may see a repeat of the Windrush scandal but on a much larger scale.”