Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:18

TORY GOVERNMENT LEADING EU NATIONALS TOWARDS "WINDRUSH-STYLE SCANDAL"

HOME SECRETARY URGED TO CLARIFY GOVERNMENT POSITION OVER FREE MOVEMENT IN THE EVENT OF NO-DEAL BREXIT

The SNP’s Immigration spokesperson has warned that the Tory government’s shambolic Brexit plans and threat of a no-deal outcome are pushing EEA nationals towards a “Windrush-style” scandal.

Stuart McDonald MP added that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid must set out his government’s immigration plans for no-deal following contradictory statements made by Caroline Nokes, the Immigration minister, at today’s Home Affairs Committee evidence session.

At today’s committee, Caroline Nokes stated that in the event of a no-deal Brexit free movement would come to an end in March 2019. However, the comments directly contradict Sajid Javid’s reported plans to retain free movement for a transition period in the event of a no-deal Brexit in order to protect the economy.

The Immigration minister also stated if the UK left the EEA without a deal then the onus will be on employers to carry out the relevant checks over whether or not EEA nationals have the right to work in the UK – despite the fact that the Settled Status scheme is barely under way, and no further plans or preparations have been put in place by the UK government with only five months to go before exit date.

Stuart McDonald MP said:

“The Tory government’s shambolic approach over the rights of EEA nationals in a post-Brexit UK has been nothing short of shameful, and unless they urgently get their act together, then they will be pushing EEA nationals towards a Windrush-style scandal after no-deal.

“It is scandalous that the Tories are palming off the mess they have created onto businesses and employers who will now be forced to carry out checks over whether or not EU nationals have a right to work in the UK – with absolutely no time to plan or prepare.

“Employers and landlords would be forced to carry out checks over whether or not EU nationals have a right to work or rent property in the UK. And yet the Immigration minister was unable to say how employers and landlords would be able to tell the difference between EEA nationals with the right to apply for settled status, and new EEA arrivals who don’t have the same rights to work and live here. After all, very few will have been able to access the Settled Status scheme by March.  That means EEA nationals who have made the UK their home could struggle to access new jobs or rent property.

“EEA nationals contribute massively - not just to our economy - but to our vital public services and communities, and it is about time the Tory government ended its hostile approach.

“It was reported last month that in the event of a disastrous no-deal Brexit outcome the UK government would retain free movement during a period to safeguard the economy. However today, the Immigration minister has declared that free movement will come to an end next March. To suggest that free movement would come to an end with just a few months’ notice would have extraordinary implications.

"The consistent contradictions from the Tory government would be humorous if the impact were not so severe. The only sensible policy is to keep free movement in place and the Home Secretary must clarify the comments made, and set out the UK government's position without further dithering or delays."

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