EU cit­i­zens could face de­por­ta­tion

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

EU cit­i­zens could be de­ported if they do not ap­ply for set­tled sta­tus af­ter Brexit by the dead­line, a Home Of­fice min­is­ter has said.

Bran­don Lewis said they may be forced to leave the UK if they do not sign up to the EU set­tle­ment scheme by the end of 2020, even if they meet all re­quire­ments for a res­i­dence per­mit.

A cam­paign group said this was the first time the “grim re­al­ity” of the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion had been con­firmed, and crit­ics raised fears of an­other Win­drush-style scan­dal.

The Home Of­fice was mak­ing it clear that those with “rea­son­able grounds” for miss­ing the date would be granted an ex­ten­sion to ap­ply for the right to live and work in the UK.

The se­cu­rity min­is­ter told Ger­man news­pa­per Die Welt: “If EU cit­i­zens un­til this point of time have not reg­is­tered and have no ad­e­quate rea­son for it, then the valid im­mi­gra­tion rules will be ap­plied.”

Pressed on whether that would in­clude those who met the le­gal re­quire­ments for res­i­dence but did not ap­ply in the next 14 months, he replied: “The­o­ret­i­cally yes. We will ap­ply the rules.”

Two mil­lion peo­ple have ap­plied to the scheme, ac­cord­ing to Home Of­fice fig­ures.

This leaves up to two mil­lion more EU cit­i­zens need­ing to ap­ply be­fore the dead­line.

As re­cently as Wed­nes­day, the Home Of­fice said EU cit­i­zens had un­til “at least” De­cem­ber 2020 to ap­ply, but Mr Lewis’s words ap­pear to be a hard­en­ing of the dead­line.

Shadow home sec­re­tary Diane Ab­bott said the gov­ern­ment was de­ter­mined to prove “our worst fears cor­rect” over con­cerns of an­other Win­drush scan­dal.

“Threats by min­is­ters that EU na­tion­als could be de­ported are a com­plete breach of all the as­sur­ances that the gov­ern­ment has made,” the MP added.

“This will be trou­bling to peo­ple who have come here in good faith and who con­trib­ute so much to our so­ci­ety.”

Diane Ab­bott raised fears of an­other Win­drush scan­dal

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