Today I challenged Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes on the government’s commitment to citizens of other EU countries living here. I was hoping that the minister would offer clarity about whether and how EU citizens can prove their settled status if – in 20 weeks’ time – we leave the EU without a deal. The immigration Minister’s statement and answers to MPs’ questions were pitiful and offered little clear information and no reassurance whatsoever. This is an outrageous way to treat human beings.
Just today, I met constituents from France, Spain and one with a German partner who were concerned about their ability to continue to live and work in the UK. These are people who have built lives in Bristol. They have friends, families and jobs here.
Remember this government was responsible for the Windrush scandal earlier this year. People from Commonwealth countries, who had been told they didn’t need documentation, then lost their status when the policy changed retrospectively. It’s no wonder 3.5 million EU citizens are worried.
Last week the Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister contradicted each other on how the rules will work. I have repeatedly asked when we will debate the Immigration Bill but even today the Minister could not answer. Our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members from other EU countries deserve better than this.