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 Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 2:39 pm, 29th June 2021

May I say to the Minister that I did exactly what he has enjoined others to do? Some weeks ago, I wrote to all the EU nationals I could identify in my constituency. We publicised the looming deadline in the press, and I have to tell him that it turned up a disturbing number of glitches in the system, not least one involving the inadequacy of certain mobile smartphones for uploading documents. I would have hoped that by this stage of things, those sorts of bugs would have been ironed out of the system, but my experience is very much that they have not.

On the figures that the Minister has given the House today, there remain something in the region of 400,000 unprocessed applications. Making allowance for the fact that there is bound to be a late surge, we might anticipate that there will be some half a million by the time of the close of the deadline. He will be aware that only once an application has been granted is the applicant entitled to the right to healthcare, to work and to rent. They could be liable to charges within the NHS. What does he intend to do for these possibly half a million people while we are waiting for the applications to be processed?