Christine Jardine has criticised the government’s EU Settlement Scheme, saying those who wish to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit deserve “more respect”.
The Home Office has finalised the right to remain for around 2.5 million of the 2.7 million EU citizens that applied to the scheme.
But the Liberal Democrat said many applicants requesting a permanent “settled status”, are instead only being granted the temporary “pre-settled status”, despite having lived here “for decades”.
This means they would have to reapply for settled status at a later date.
She told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “These people are our friends, our colleagues, our next door neighbours, the people who care for us if we’re in hospital.
“We should be treating them, I think, with more respect, giving them automatic right to remain and coming up with an agreement with the EU which also gives the British citizens living in other parts of the European Union the right to remain there.”
The MP for Edinburgh West also argued that those who are refused the right to stay should be allowed to appeal the decision.
Ms Jardine said having EU citizen’s remain in the UK is what is “best for our economy”, adding “we need to encourage them and not put up barriers”.
Meanwhile, an EU Brexit chief, Guy Verhofstadt, has said he had won assurances by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay that there would be no automatic deportation of those who miss the deadline to apply for settled status.
But the Home Office warned against the “unhelpful misconceptions” in Mr Verhofstadt’s comments because it had already said extensions would be granted if there are “reasonable grounds” for missing the deadline.
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