UK settlement fee for EU nationals likened to Windrush row
Sadiq Khan says proposal shows Home Office ‘has not learned lessons’ from 2018 scandal
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has attacked the Home Office’s plan to charge EU nationals to remain in the UK following Brexit.
In a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Khan said the Government’s proposal to charge for “settled status” in Britain showed that ministers had not learned the lessons of the Windrush scandal in early 2018, which sparked national outrage and led to the resignation of then-home secretary Amber Rudd.
Following Brexit, EU nationals without permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain will have to pay £65, or £32.50 for under-16s, if they want to stay in the UK.
Khan is calling on the Government to waive the fee for EU nationals and their families who were resident in the UK before the referendum took place.
He said that many of the 3.4 million EU citizens resident in the UK would find the process of registering after Brexit “inaccessible and unaffordable”.
“While the previous home secretary rightly waived fees for the Windrush generation, the Government clearly has not learnt the wider lessons. There are many others still at risk from the same policies that led to the Windrush generation experiencing discrimination, destitution, and deportation,” he wrote.
“There are hundreds of thousands of young people who were born in the UK or, like the Windrush generation, brought here as young children, who are prevented from participating in the economic, social and political life of the UK by the prohibitive cost of applying for leave to remain or citizenship.”
The Guardian reports that Khan also took aim at plans to restrict immigration to people earning above £30,000 a year. The mayor fears that such a policy would “badly damage London’s economy”, says the newspaper.
In an article for The Observer this weekend, Remain supporter Khan repeated his calls for the Government to stage a second referendum, writing that he “strongly disagrees” with the notion that “a public vote would create yet more division and disillusionment”.
The home secretary has previously said that the Government’s “default” position will be to grant rather than refuse settled status applications and that most decisions will be made within two weeks.
EU citizens will be able to apply online or via a smartphone app and will have to prove their identity and that they live in the UK, and state whether they have criminal convictions.