We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

More than 1200 EU citizens in Newcastle stuck in Home Office settlement backlog as cliff-edge looms - tens of thousands in limbo across region

May 28, 2021 9:18 AM

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 1220 people living in Newcastle are still waiting for the Home Office to process their applications - with just five weeks to go before the Government's deadline. A further 2760 people elsewhere in the North East are also affected.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics show that, as of the end of March, there have been 18470 applications from people living in Newcastle, but only 17250 of these have been concluded.

Cllr Greg Stone 2019The figures also reveal that 9120 people in Newcastle have only been granted temporary 'Pre-Settled Status'. That means a total of 10340 applicants have still not been given the permanent right to stay - and across the North East the figure is 28760.

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 Government has been unable to confirm whether EU citizens working in the UK after 30th June will be exempt from prosecution and potential deportation, but has already confirmed that they will lose entitlement to free NHS treatment. Further guidance is being issued by the Government about the legality of landlords letting properties to non-settled tenants, with fears that this could make many people homel.

Newcastle Liberal Democrat councillor Greg Stone said: "I brought a motion to the city council in October 2019 calling on the council to do more to support affected EU citizens in Newcastle, and noted the difficulty many faced when calling the council for advice on this issue. Despite receiving assurances from the council that they would act to assist affected people, More than 1200 European friends and neighbours in Newcastle 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 process their application in time. A further 9120 still only have temporary clearance and their permanent status is not yet settled.

"EU citizens who have made their lives in the city 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."

"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. There are very real fears that their employment status, housing, and access to the NHS could be taken away in a matter of weeks, and we are already seeing the Home Office taking enforcement action to detain and deport EU citizens entering the country.

It's not too late, but the Government must act now to prevent a new Windrush-style scandal in just a few weeks. Lib Dems are calling upon Newcastle City Council and the city's MPs to make urgent representations to the Home Office to act now to safeguard the status of those affected. The Government should confirm that anyone who has already applied will be granted automatic confirmation of their rights if their applications have not been processed by June 30th."