The Liberal Democrats are calling for all EU citizens in the UK to be given the automatic right to stay, as new figures reveal that 360 living in Cheltenham are still waiting for the Home Office to process their applications – with just five weeks to go before the Government’s deadline.
The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics show that, as of the end of March, there have been 8,300 applications from people living in Cheltenham, but only 7,940 of these have been concluded.
The party is warning that those who aren’t given ‘Settled Status’ by the 30th June could become the victims of “a new Windrush-style scandal”.
The figures also reveal that 3,020 people in Cheltenham have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’. That means a total of 3,380 Cheltenham applicants have still not been given the permanent right to stay.
Responding to the figures, Max Wilkinson, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Cheltenham, said:
“360 of our European friends and neighbours in Cheltenham still don’t know what will happen to them at the end of June. They are being forced to cross their fingers and hope the Home Office get to their application in time.
“EU citizens who’ve made their lives in Cheltenham contribute enormously to our economy, our public services and our society. They shouldn’t be forced to live with this uncertainty and anxiety any longer.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael added:
“Boris Johnson promised all EU citizens the automatic right to stay, but this enormous backlog and the growing number of refusals show that the Settled Status scheme is anything but automatic.
“It’s not too late, but the Government must act now to prevent a new Windrush-style scandal in just a few weeks."