Rights of EU citizens living in UK ‘must not be impacted’, says SNP MP

A senior SNP MP has made a fresh call for the UK Government to support EU citizens and ensure that their rights are not impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Pete Wishat has written to the Home Secretary with his concerns

Pete Wishart has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel urging her to assess the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on EU citizens’ rights under the EU settlement scheme and extend the deadline to apply.

The Perth MP has also called grant a concession for EU citizens applying for settled status who have inadvertently broken their continuity of residence.

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Nationalists MPs last week called on the Home Office to support EU citizens during this crisis – saying that self-isolation, social distancing and illness will impact the ability of EU citizens to apply to the EU settlement scheme and access vital help, including those eligible for settled status that have inadvertently broken their continuity of residence due to travel restrictions.

Mr Wishart said: “Around 600,000 EU nationals have still to apply for Settled Status in the UK and those that are currently applying are finding a number of delays and difficulties in contacting the Home Office and accessing resources for assistance due to the Coronavirus crisis.

“Many of the charities and organisations who work to assist EU nationals are not in operation just now, and the ID document scanner locations and postal routes for submitting identity evidence have been suspended. This is adding to the stress of those EU nationals who have made the UK their home and are still anxious about the bureaucracy that they are required to negotiate in order to stay in the UK.

“I am urging the Home Secretary to extend the deadline to apply, and grant a concession for EU citizens applying for settled status who have inadvertently broken their continuity of residence. The UK government cannot allow a whole cohort of people to fall through the gap.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “EU citizens have made an enormous contribution to the UK and we want them to stay.

“The EU Settlement Scheme has already given certainty to more than 3 million, providing them with evidence of their right to continue living and working in the UK.

“There is plenty of support available and we have made it as simple as possible to apply for this scheme. People can apply using any laptop or mobile device and there is still well over a year to go before the deadline for applications.”