8,310 EU nationals in Cheshire left in limbo, Lib Dems warn
The Liberal Democrats are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show 4,960 EU nationals living in Cheshire East and 3,350 in Cheshire West have not yet been granted permanent settled status to remain in the UK.
Pointing to the contribution of EU nationals working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, Liberal Democrat 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 19,030 EU nationals across Cheshire who have applied for permanent residency, only 10,530 have been granted settled status, according to the latest figures.
1,790 EU nationals living in Cheshire have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 6,520 have been given only temporary 'Pre-Settled' Status, meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.
The Home Office, realising how much they are needed, has announced a niggardly one-year visa extension for certain health and care staff - the Liberal Democrats are running a cross-party campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine 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 nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."
Tatton Liberal Democrat spokesperson Jonathan Smith added:
“Too many EU nationals in Cheshire 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 Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, to guarantee their rights to live and work in their new home.”