- Citizens from the EU living in the UK risk becoming the next victims of failed Home Office policies which led to the Windrush scandal, MPs have warned.
- “We are deeply concerned by [Home Office’s] lack of action and understanding of the needs of applicants,” said a report from the Public Accounts Committee.
- MPS said the Home Office had a track record of failing to protect people’s legal rights to live and work in the UK, criticising the department for showing a “lack of care” in fixing the problems that caused the Windrush scandal.
LONDON – Millions of EU nationals living in the UK could suffer the same fate as the Windrush generation after Brexit, according to a damning report from MPs.
The Public Accounts Committee warned on Wednesday that the Home Office’s “systemic failure” to keep accurate records could place many EU citizens at risk of being “caught out” and unable to prove their right to remain in the country after the UK leaves the EU.
“We are deeply concerned by [Home Office’s] lack of action and understanding of the needs of applicants,” said the cross-party group of MPs.
“As the UK prepares to exit the EU there is a risk that EU citizens will also be caught out if they do not have the required documents.”
It said it was “vital” that the department acted on the lessons of Windrush, a 2018 scandal which found that hundreds of Caribbean-born UK citizens had been ill-treated or deported due to the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policies.
The EU settled status scheme, which is in beta phase and due to be rolled out fully on March 30, will require 3.7 million EU citizens who live in the UK to prove their identity and right to residency by scanning a mobile app or providing documents via post.
But the PAC said the Home Office had a track record of failing to protect people’s legal rights to live and work in the UK, criticising the department for showing a “lack of care” and doing nothing to tackle the systemic issues that created the Windrush scandal.
It called on the department to redesign and test its application process for EU citizens to ensure they were easier and more accessible to use.
Campaigners have warned that the settled status scheme will put vulnerable groups of EU citizens, including children and pensioners, at the most risk because they will find it the most difficult to prove their identity.
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