Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned news that hundreds of EU citizens in the Northern Isles are still awaiting proper confirmation of their settled status. Official figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats show that approximately 60 EU citizens in Orkney and 200 in Shetland remain in legal limbo over their settled status, either through having only been granted pre-settled status or having had no response to their application. Media reports have suggested that Home Office staff cannot access paperwork held in offices due to inefficient home working procedures.
Mr Carmichael said:
“EU citizens make a massive positive impact in the Northern Isles and the coronavirus crisis has only made that impact clearer. The pandemic has demonstrated the vital contributions that workers from all over the world make in supporting our economy and keeping the NHS running under severe pressure.
“The ongoing legal limbo for over two hundred EU citizens in the isles is unacceptable. Continued confusion and delay caused by administrative problems must be put right. Failing to do so puts people’s futures and lives clouded in uncertainty. They deserve better from a government that promised their right to remain.”
“This news comes in a week in which the government has seemed blind to the importance of immigrant workers in our health and social care sectors. I am glad that the Prime Minister backed down on plans to charge immigrants working in the NHS but it should never have come that far. The EU citizens will be vital in ensuring that we come out of this crisis stronger.”