The government has been accused of creating further uncertainty for EU citizens in Bristol as official figures reveal that of the 26,000 settled status applications from Bristol, 13,000 have been granted.
From August 28th 2018 to December 31st 2019, 25,990 applications have been received from EU citizens in Bristol for settled status after Britain leaves the European Single Market on December 31st. Whilst 23,480 of the applications have been processed, only 13,260 have been granted full settled status. 10,070 have been given ‘pre-settled status’ with 160 having ‘other outcomes’ including rejection.
Liberal Democrats have warned about the important distinction between the statuses. Settled status allows for permanent residency, however, pre-settled only allow residency for up to five years, causing greater confusion and uncertainty for EU citizens and their families.
Bristol Liberal Democrats have launched the ‘Right to Stay Bristol’ campaign, lobbying the government to give EU citizens automatic settled status and greater legal protections. The Liberal Democrat amendment to give EU citizens the right to appeal on these cases was rejected by the government.
Liberal Democrat Bristol West Spokesperson James Cox said:
“EU citizens make an enormous contribution to Bristol, to our economy, public services, universities and culture. However, only half of the tens of thousands of applications for settled status have been fully granted, meaning that people who live and work here are being left in legal limbo.
“EU citizens have had to bear the brunt of the Brexit uncertainty over the last four years but Boris Johnson seems intent on manufacturing a hostile environment of uncertainty and confusion.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. We recognise the huge value that EU citizens bring to Bristol and we demand their right to stay. The government needs to act with compassion and intelligence otherwise it is in serious danger of having another Windrush scandal on its hands.”