SNP urges UK government to grant EU nationals residency status after Brexit
The SNP has urged the UK government to automatically grant post-Brexit residence status to EU nationals in order to avoid a cliff edge and prevent damage to the Scottish economy and the NHS.
MP Anne McLaughlin warned that EU citizens could be deprived of their rights overnight – including the right to work, rent and access to healthcare – on July 1. It could also see Scotland’s NHS, healthcare and hospitality and tourism sectors lose vital workers, putting the country’s economy at risk.
The call comes after a recent report from the UK in a Changing Europe echoed SNP concerns about the risks ahead for those not seeking settlement or pre-settlement status here June 30. The academic group, as well as the the3million campaign group, is concerned that some who have applied but are still awaiting a decision from the Home Office – including children and retirees – may face difficulties if they are they cannot prove their status.
The SNP has repeatedly urged the UK government to implement a reporting system, abolish the two tier system and issue physical proof of UK residence to EU nationals to avoid another scandal similar to Windrush. SNP MP Angela Crawley led a debate in Westminster Hall on the issue this week, reiterating those calls.
McLaughlin said: “With just under two weeks to go before the status deadline set, I urge the Prime Minister to step his head out of the sand and realize the enormous risks this poses to EU nationals, who have contributed to our society and helped support the country during the global pandemic, as well as the NHS and the economy of Scotland.
“The fundamental concern is the access of key sectors to the labor market. Industries such as hospitality and agriculture are already struggling to recruit in the wake of Brexit – this could be made worse if people cannot prove their right to work.
“Employers will naturally be nervous about keeping someone or employing someone new if they don’t have proof of their right to work here and so many industries could find themselves in a worse situation in July. .
“With so many warnings about the dangers of the June 30 deadline, and with so many more to apply … it is now incumbent on the UK government to automatically grant post-Brexit residency status to EU nationals in the UK.”