Sadiq Khan has warned that thousands of Londoners who are European Union citizens “are already at risk of discrimination” from employers, landlords or providers of services due to uncertainty about the immigration status as the end-of-June deadline for applying to the government’s EU Settlement Scheme draws near.
Responding to questions at today’s Mayor’s Question Time session from Labour London Assembly Member Marina Ahmad, the Mayor said “It is increasingly clear that a significant number of people risk losing their entitlements and becoming undocumented and subject to hostile environment immigration policies.”
Khan said “the latest Home Office stats show that over 330,000 people are still waiting for the outcome of their applications, with more than 100,000 of these in London.” He told Ahmad he is disappointed that “the Home Office has not yet addressed our concerns about the number of outstanding applications or listened to calls to extend the application deadline.”
Ahmad (pictured) expressed concern that EU Londoners might find themselves in a similar position to Londoners and other victims of the Windrush scandal, which saw people of Caribbean descent who had lived in the UK for many years suddenly told they were in the country illegally “because of lack of official papers”, or might be unable to access NHS treatment.
Khan told her he has received no response to requests to extend the settlement scheme, which EU citizens can apply to if they wish to secure either settled or pre-settled status, enabling them to continue living in the UK after 30 June.
Elaborating on the situation of those affected, Khan said: “These are people who are undocumented or have had their status unregularised, even though they are entitled to be here, stay here and so forth.” He agreed with Ahmad that some whose applications have yet to be processed could be at risk of discrimination from 1 July through no fault of their own.
He said the backlog of applications could result in employers being concerned about breaking the law or risking a fine if they took on someone whose right to remain in the UK had not yet been established. “That’s why we’re saying to the government it’s really important they give some certainty so those Londoners that are EU citizens about their statuses after 30 June,” Khan said. He agreed with Ahmad that “it’s very important for the government to learn the lessons from the Windrush scandal.”
Mayor’s Question Time, 24 June 2021 can be watched in full here.
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