Today the deadline EU citizens applying for settled status in the UK passes with 400,000 applications caught up in a backlog at the Home Office. Those putting in applications today are being met with delays and queues on the Government website as the system tries to deal with the demand.
Over 5.6 million people have applied to remain in the UK, almost double the Government’s estimate of 3.2 million. The fact is the Government doesn’t know how many EU citizens are living here – and have no idea how many might wake up tomorrow having lost their right to work, to a home, and to healthcare.
I have repeatedly called on the Government to extend the deadline for applications in order to prevent a scandal which would be even greater than the Windrush failure. Sadly, these calls have been ignored. In the last two weeks I have also reached out to 5,000 households ahead of the deadline to remind them to apply if they haven’t already, and to help chase delayed applications.
In Southwark, 62,000 have applied for settled status. I remain proud to serve such a brilliant, diverse and vibrant community which has benefitted from successive waves of migration, including being home to so many people from other European countries working and enriching our community.
If you or someone you know does miss the deadline, please remember that the Home Office should be considering late applications. If you experience any difficulties with this – please get in touch.