EU citizens will be stripped of their rights under Home Office proposals, MPs warn

Written by Anahita Hossein-Pour on 26 March 2019 in News

A damning report from the Human Rights Committee warned the Immigration Bill in its current form will remove the rights of Europeans living in the UK

Image credit: PA

EU citizens will be stripped of their human rights after Brexit under current immigration proposals put forward by the Home Office, MPs and peers have warned.

A damning report from the Human Rights Committee warned the Immigration Bill in its current form will remove the rights of Europeans living in the UK despite there being no guarantees to replace them in further legislation.

MPs and peers claim the move would leave families in a “precarious situation” for their housing, social security and other free movement rights, as they demanded further protections be enshrined in the draft bill.

Under the current proposals, the Home Secretary would need to table new legislation to reinstate the rights of EU citizens after leaving the European Union, the committee members said.

Committee chair Harriet Harman said: “Human Rights protections for EU citizens must not be stripped away after Brexit. EU Citizens living in this country right now will be understandably anxious about their futures. We’re talking about the rights of people who have resided in the UK for years, decades even, paying into our social security system or even having been born in the UK and lived here their whole lives.

“When it comes to rights, promising that everything will be worked out in the future is not good enough, it must be a guarantee, which is why the Committee have reinserted rights guarantees back into the wording of the Bill.”

The committee also raised concerns over the EU Settlement Scheme, warning against repeating problems faced by the Windrush generation - who came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s - and some of who were wrongly removed during an immigration crackdown after being unable to produce certain documents.

MPs are calling on the Home Office to issue physical proof of status to those registered under the EU scheme, but also to boost awareness of the process that could be missed, particularly by vulnerable people.

The committee also urged for flexibility for applicants who register after the EU Settlement Scheme’s deadline, arguing they could have “lived and worked in the UK their whole lives”.

The report added: “Their rights should not depend on subsequent registration with a scheme within a specific time limit.”

Further clarity for Common Travel Area arrangements and rights for UK and Irish citizens, including on family reunification, healthcare, social security, education and workers’ rights is also recommended in the report.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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