21,120 EU nationals in Lambeth left in limbo
The Liberal Democrats are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show 21,120 EU nationals living in Lambeth have not been granted permanent Settled Status to remain in the UK.
Pointing to the contribution of EU nationals working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine urged the Government to “show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives."
Of the 48,100 EU nationals across Lambeth who have applied for settled status, only 26,390 have been granted settled status.
3,840 EU nationals living in Lambeth have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 17,280 have been given only temporary Pre-Settled Status, meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.
Although the Home Office has announced a one-year visa extensions for certain health and care staff, the Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for their campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
“The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm’s way each and every day to keep us safe. The Government has a chance to show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."
Florence Cyrot Mele, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Lambeth & Southwark in next year's GLA elections, added:
“Too many EU nationals in Lambeth are deeply anxious about their right to stay. With the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this. London is their home, many were born here, they have always contributed positively to our communities and society.
EU nationals came here thanks to the EU freedom of movement as Brits settled down abroad in the same way. We all welcomed them and benefited from all the new ideas, knowledge and skills that they brought with them. They can not be treated as second class citizens by the new government. Families and children must not be made to live under a cloud of uncertainty any longer.
The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for EU citizens by fighting to guarantee their rights to live and work in the UK."
The Home Office has decided to change the naturalisation requirements for Settled Status holders by imposing new insurance obligations. We will update when we have more information.
The latest figures on the EU settlement scheme including by local authority are available here.