The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to guarantee that no EU citizen without Settled Status will fall victim to the Hostile Environment, as new figures show that more than half a million people were still waiting for a decision on their application when the deadline hit on Wednesday.
The statistics, published today by the Home Office, show that, as of 30th June, 6,015,400 people had applied to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme, but only 5,446,300 cases had been concluded – meaning there are 569,100 people still waiting for a decision.
The backlog grew by 70% in June alone, as more than 400,000 people applied in the last month before the deadline, while the Home Office only handed out 175,000 decisions.
Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“More than half a million people who were promised that they could stay in the UK woke up on Thursday morning not knowing what will happen to their rights. Such a huge amount of anxiety and uncertainty is cruel and unnecessary.
“Priti Patel was warned repeatedly that the Home Office wouldn’t be able to process all these applications by her arbitrary deadline, but she ignored those warnings and this is the result.
“Her stubborn refusal to lift the deadline for Settled Status applications is now causing enormous confusion – not just for half a million EU citizens, but also for the employers, landlords and NHS staff who the Conservatives have turned into border guards with their Hostile Environment laws.
“Priti Patel must honour her promise to EU citizens and guarantee that none of their rights will be reduced. And she must scrap the Hostile Environment to prevent them becoming the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal on an even bigger scale.”