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Ipswich Liberal Democrats

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Govt sleepwalking into another Windrush type scandal

November 6, 2018 1:57 PM

Following a disastrous appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes was brought before the House of Commons yesterday, but was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit, and how these will apply to those who are already here are therefore entitled to 'settled status'.

The Home Office is currently trialing the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn't due to be fully open until March 2019. Nokes boasted that the Home Office has now granted settled status to 1,000 EU citizens, less than 0.03% of the 3.6 million EU citizens currently living in the UK.

Following the debate, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

"Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. After being quizzed by MPs on two separate occasions, the Immigration Minister has utterly failed to offer them any clarity.

"The one thing the Minister did admit is that the Conservatives will not be able to implement their much-vaunted immigration red lines for years to come.

"The Conservatives are sleepwalking into another Windrush scandal, where hostile environment checks destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK. The Government's chaotic approach to Brexit risks subjecting EU citizens to those same injustices.

"Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU."

Ed Davey

Ipswich Liberal Democrat Councillor Inga Lockington said:

I found out at first hand how unfit the Home Office is when I decided not to wait in limbo and apply and pay for British Citizenship. After finally attending the Citizen Ceremony, and receiving my certificate that was not the end of the confused state I found within the Home Office.

I had to fill in another application with another set of photos for my Passport. I also put a copy of my certificate in the envelope just to be sure. I waited the time we are told it will take to receive a passport and then I started to contact them and received some confusing messages one of them contained the following sentence. "Only once you have attended your Citizenship Ceremony will your passport application be started. Correctly completed applications should be processed within 20 working days of your Citizenship Ceremony, however this is a non-guaranteed turnaround time."

I did email back, pointing out that they had received all the information for the passport three months earlier. Finally a year after I started my application for British Citizenship I have all my documents.

I have the impression it is all the Outsourcing of work The Home Office seems so keen on that is adding to the problems for residents applying for Residency or Citizenship. I spoke with an Officer in one of these outsourced Call Centres and asked him to pass some information back to the Home Office about how scared some older residents were who had lived in the UK for even more years that myself, the answer was "That is not possible we cannot pass any information back". Is The Home Office not willing to listen and learn?

Cllr Inga Lockington