LONDON, June 1 (Xinhua) — London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Tuesday called for a post-Brexit settlement scheme for European citizens to be extended because of a backlog of 300,000 cases.
Khan said 100,000 of the cases are in London, with a cut-off deadline looming in just one month.
City Hall said from next month European citizens could face a loss of rights, leaving them undocumented and vulnerable to discrimination.
“New figures show thousands of European citizens still without confirmed Settled or pre-Settled status in the UK,” said a City Hall spokesperson.
From July 1 citizens from the European Union (EU) member states and some allied European countries will need to start relying on a digital immigration status to navigate life in the UK, such as taking up employment, renting an apartment and accessing public services.
The latest Home Office data shows there remains an application backlog of 101,500 in London, and 302,300 across the UK overall – risking the creation of a new group of undocumented migrants overnight unable to prove their status and access services in the capital. This also includes being charged for health treatment from Britain’s NHS.
“London simply wouldn’t be the same without the extraordinary contribution of European Londoners living in the capital. We want them to stay and continue to make a vital contribution to our economy and our communities as we recover as a city after the pandemic,” the mayor said.
“While many of those eligible have now secured their status in the UK, I remain deeply concerned about those whose status is still not yet confirmed. Many are now at risk of discrimination, whether from an employer, landlord or accessing public services,” Khan noted.
He said he appealed directly to government ministers to ensure those eligible for settlement rights deserve a cast-iron guarantee that any delays in processing their application won’t lead to them or their families losing their status or being discriminated against from next month.
“I’m calling on the government to change course and announce an extension to the June 30 deadline,” said Khan.
The City Hall spokesperson added: “The Home Office has recently issued long-awaited guidance on late applications to its EU Settlement Scheme, but this still risks leaving eligible European citizens and their family members undocumented from next month. Even in cases where the guidance provides a route back to status, temporarily removing EU citizens’ legal right to stay in the UK from July could cause huge problems for those involved and their families.”
In the run up to Britain’s departure from the EU following a national referendum, it was stated that more than 3 million citizens of EU states were settled in Britain. Enditem