EU Settlement Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 29th June 2021.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Labour, Sheffield Central 2:39 pm, 29th June 2021

The Prime Minister promised EU citizens “absolute certainty” of their rights to live and remain in the UK, but the day before applications to the EU settlement scheme close, serious questions remain unanswered, so may I press the Minister on some of them? Reports suggest that the Government have estimated that up to 130,000 of those eligible for benefits have not applied for settled status. What assessment has the Home Office made of the total number of eligible EU citizens still to apply, and how has it reached out actively to those people? What support has been given to older and more vulnerable people who have yet to make applications, particularly those in social care? There is concern that some parents have thought it unnecessary to apply on behalf of their children. How is the Home Office identifying those children and enabling their applications?

Government figures show that applications have been made for only one in three children in care, so what has been done for the others? The Home Office has said that late applications on reasonable grounds will be considered, so will the Minister confirm what status those applicants will have while the reasonableness of their case is determined?

Victims of domestic abuse whose traumatic circumstances have prevented an application will lose rights to support and a place in a refuge. What has been done to protect them? One in three landlords are not aware of the settlement scheme. Business groups think employers do not know enough about it. What has been done to ensure that nobody is wrongly excluded from housing or work?

Almost half—around 2 million—of those who have applied for settled status have not received it. Instead, they have pre-settled status with no long-term rights. What are the Government doing to ensure that they can overcome the barriers to full status?

There is a real risk of a new Windrush-type tragedy in the future if we do not get this right now. The pandemic has affected Government capacity and communication, so will the Minister reconsider his previous statement, follow the lead of countries such as France and the Netherlands in relation to UK citizens and extend the deadline for applications?