‘Scrap the deadline!’ SNP make desperate last-ditch bid to change Brexit rules

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There are also calls for a legal change to automatically protect the rights of EU citizens and their families who continue to live in the UK. Concerns have also been raised there could be thousands of undocumented EU children who have not had settlement applications made on their behalf by parents or social workers. The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is a key element of Brexit and was launched to enable EU citizens and their families to make applications to the Home Office to confirm their immigration status to continue living and working in the UK following Brexit.

More than 5.6 million applications were made but there is reported 400,000 cases awaiting a decision on this.

There have been increasing calls for an extension to the deadline because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but Downing Street has insisted this will not happen.

SNP Deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said: “This is the Prime Minister’s last chance to prevent hundreds of thousands of EU nationals being stripped of their rights overnight, as well as a hammer blow to Scotland’s economy and NHS.

“I am urging him to take it and scrap the deadline.”

The MP added the UK Government should “implement a declaratory system whereby EU nationals in the UK are automatically granted settled status”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised concerns over the June 30 deadline for the EUSS.

He told the House of Commons: “Hundreds of thousands of EU nationals have been left in limbo, including thousands of children.

“Will the Prime Minister honour his word, give certainty, scrap the disastrous settled status deadline before we face another Tory Windrush?”

Boris Johnson said: “It’s fantastic that 5.6 million people have applied. We are processing all the applications as fast as we possibly can and clearly the most important thing is for anybody who hasn’t applied to get their application in today.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader hit back: “Overnight, thousands of our friends and neighbours could become illegal immigrants.

“They’re living in fear for their jobs, their families and their livelihoods all because this Prime Minister won’t keep his word.”

Mr Johnson said: “There’s been several extensions of the deadline, it’s five years now since the Brexit referendum.”

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Separately, Scottish Labour MSP Ian Murray claimed the “intransigence” of the UK Government could see EU citizens who are working legally in Britain be impacted by immigration laws as the deadline would have been missed because of administration problems.

He said: “It is vital that European Union citizens across the country register for the settlement scheme today if they haven’t already.

“But with hundreds of thousands of applications still unprocessed and potentially many more yet to apply, the deadline must be extended beyond June 30.

“The home secretary must reconsider and join European governments who have extended their deadline for UK nationals living in the European Union.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “If someone hasn’t applied by the deadline of June 30, we will take a flexible and pragmatic approach.

“They will be encouraged to apply as soon as possible and we have been clear that where someone has reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, we will work with them first to give them the opportunity to apply.”

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