EU settlement scheme could create thousands of illegal immigrants

Brexit: There's 'no case' for returning to the EU says Starmer

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The UK Government’s EU settlement scheme could create thousands of illegal immigrants overnight, the High Court has warned. The court’s judgement also claimed the scheme was in breach of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and unlawful.

A watchdog for EU citizens’ rights slammed the scheme as they argued it could strip people of rights if they failed to register in time.

The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) challenged such arrangements in the High Court.

They claimed that Ministers were breaking the legal promises which had been given to the European Union.

It also argued that huge numbers of people could become illegal immigrants overnight, provided they did not apply for the second stage during the allotted time.

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This would lose them the right to live, work, study and access health services.

The Home Office opened up a two-stage process for EU citizens in 2018.

More than two million people have ‘pre-settled status’ under the scheme.

The status hands people the limited right to live and work in the UK.

It will expire if people do not reapply for full settled status after five years.

Around 200,00 people who were included in the scheme’s 2018 pilot must register by August 2023 or risk losing their legal rights.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Lane said: “The consequence… of limited leave coming to an end, without being followed by further leave, is extremely serious.

“The person concerned becomes an overstayer, who from that point is in the United Kingdom unlawfully.

“A person who knowingly remains beyond the time limited by the leave commits a criminal offence.

“In my judgment, these consequences cannot be brushed aside as merely procedural matters.”

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