The UK government is under renewed pressure from MPs to scrap its “shameful” EU settled status fee and “unrealistic” application deadline after a new report warned of the potential for another Windrush scandal.
The report, published today by think tank British Future, warned that if the UK government fails to properly invest in the scheme – to register 3.5million EU citizens living in the UK, by its June 2021 deadline – many thousands of EU citizens could be left with an insecure immigration status or no status at all. British Future Strategy Director Jill Rutter said such an outcome “could cause massive problems in years to come, on a far bigger scale than the Windrush scandal.”
The SNP has campaigned for the UK government to scrap the application fee and deadline, which threatens to affect 223,000 people in Scotland, and the Scottish Government has committed to paying the fee for EU citizens working in devolved public services.
Commenting, Stuart McDonald MP, SNP Immigration spokesperson said:
“The UK government must scrap its shameful EU settled status fee and unrealistic application deadline, which threatens to create another Windrush scandal by putting at risk the rights of millions of EU citizens who live across Scotland and the UK.
“EU citizens are our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members – they have contributed hugely to our country, and they should not be charged a fee to stay in their own homes and retain rights to which they are already entitled.
“European migration has been overwhelmingly good for Scotland. It has sustained our working age population, boosted economic growth, improved our public services, and provided a net benefit to tax revenues – making us all better off.
“It is a matter of great shame that the Tory government is ideologically obsessed by ending our freedom of movement rights to live, work and study freely across the EU, which will rob opportunities from future generations and leave the country poorer and worse off.
“With the UK government imposing hostile immigration policies that threaten our economy and long-term prosperity, the case for devolving immigration powers to Scotland is clearer than ever.”