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3,700 EU nationals in Woking left in limbo, Lib Dems warn

May 20, 2020 3:07 PM
By Cllr Will Forster

Will Forster and Supporters Sept 2019The Lib Dems are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK as new official figures show 3,700 EU nationals living in Woking have not been granted permanent Settled Status to remain in the UK.

Pointing to the contribution of EU citizens working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, Lib Dem Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine urged the Government to "show its own support for the people's heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives."

Of the 7,730 EU citizens across Woking who have applied for permanent residency, only 3,870 have been granted Settled Status.

650 EU nationals living in Woking have applied to the Home Office scheme, but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 3,050 have been given only temporary Pre-Settled Status meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.

Although the Home Office has announced a one-year visa extensions for certain health and care staff, the Lib Dems have secured cross-party support for their campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain.

Lib Dem Home Affairs Spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP, said:

"The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm's way each and every day to keep us safe."

"The Government has a chance to show its own support for the people's heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign citizens, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."

Lib Dem spokesperson for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, added:

"Too many EU nationals in Woking are deeply anxious about their right to stay. With the uncertainty of Brexit it's disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this."

"Families and children must not be made to live under a cloud of uncertainty any longer. The Lib Dems will continue to stand up for EU citizens by fighting to guarantee their rights to live and work in the UK."