Boris Johnson urged to act to protect their rights.
The SNP’s Immigration spokesperson has renewed calls for the UK government to automatically extend the rights of EU nationals in the UK – as they face challenge after challenge after Brexit.
Stuart McDonald MP (pictured) has written to the Home Secretary urging her to take action after a string of events suggesting the UK government is rolling out the hostile environment to EU citizens in the UK.
Reports reveal that in the past two months EU nationals have continued to struggle to access social security they are entitled to due to complex rules regarding the Habitual Residency Test (HRT), have been stopped at the UK border with extra demands to prove their status, some are being encouraged to leave through incentives and students are being asked to hand over more than £1000 to use the NHS before claiming it back as a refund.
The call follows a report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants that shows that thousands – many of them care workers – are set to miss the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme, risking EU nationals being criminalised overnight and severely impacting the care sector.
Commenting, Stuart McDonald MP said:
“Step by step the UK government appears intent on rolling out the hostile environment to EU citizens – who were repeatedly promised by UK ministers that their rights would not be impacted by Brexit.
“This is yet another broken promise from the Tory government.
“Already we are seeing EU citizens, who have made their home here in the UK, contributed to society and helped to tackle the coronavirus crisis, being stopped at the border, refused social security and encouraged to leave.
“This is hardly the mark of a government doing what they can to encourage EU citizens to stay or protecting their rights – and is in stark contrast to the message from the SNP Scottish Government that we want people to stay.
“The danger is that much worse is set to follow in July after the deadline for settled status applications passes and many thousands are stripped of their rights overnight.
“My SNP colleagues and I have consistently warned that by failing to automatically extend the rights of EU nationals in the UK and instead forcing them to apply for settled status, the UK government would be responsible for tens if not hundreds of thousands losing all their rights overnight.
“I am urging the Prime Minister to heed our warnings and keep the promise he and his Home Secretary made during the Brexit referendum and extend the rights of EU nationals in the UK automatically.
“At the very least he must cancel the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme.
“Scotland can do so much better than having toxic Tory Brexit policies imposed upon us against our will.
“Only by becoming an independent country will we be able to build an immigration system that works in our interests and treats people fairly.”