Latest Brexit updates as government embroiled in row over EU citizens

Home Office tries to clear up ‘misconceptions’ over settle status scheme


The Home Office has rejected some of the comments from the European parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt on EU citizens who remain in the UK – and warned against “misconceptions”.


Verhofstadt said he had won assurances from Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay that there would be “no automatic deportation” of those who miss the deadline to apply for settled status.


And he said, after meeting Barclay in London a day earlier, that the government had conceded over allowing EU citizens to have a hard copy of their settled status confirmation.


But the Home Office said it had “made it clear” that extensions would be granted if there are “reasonable grounds” for missing the deadline and that there has been “no change to our digital approach”.


A statement added that “some of the misconceptions we’ve seen about the settlement scheme have been unhelpful when our focus is on providing reassurance”.


Campaigners raised concerns of another Windrush-style scandal when Home Office minister Brandon Lewis said in October that EU citizens may be forced to leave if they miss the deadline, which is 30 June 2021, including a grace period.


With hundreds of thousands of people yet to apply for the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit, Verhofstadt said he had questioned Barclay over previous “contradictions”.


“I wanted to be sure that there is no automatic deportation of these people even after the grace period because it can be people who are very vulnerable,” Verhofstadt said earlier on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.”


But the Home Office stressed that this was already the case in response to Verhofstadt. “We have made it clear that, where people have reasonable grounds for missing the original deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply,” a statement said.

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