As of 30 June, the EU settlement scheme had received more than 6 million applications and issued more than 5.1 million grants of status. As we have discussed before, the scheme has been a success and we have secured the status of 5.1 million individuals.
I am disappointed not to hear the exact number. In Wandsworth, there are an estimated 41,000 EU citizens, but the gap in applications to the EU settlement scheme is not known. Can the Home Secretary say which resources she is making available to process the 500,000 or so applications that are currently in the system but have not yet been determined, and how long she would envisage allowing late applications to the scheme?
As I have said, the scheme has been a phenomenal success. There are many naysayers across the country and in this House who refused to believe that even 3 million people would be registered with the scheme. First and foremost, there is an abundance of support available for applicants, including from the 72 organisations to which the Home Office has granted £22 million of support for vulnerable groups and individuals to apply to the scheme. On top of that, we have invested £8 million in communications, and that involves working with local authorities such as the hon. Lady’s to ensure that no one is missed and that all the support is in the place for them.
Recent research from the Children’s Society showed that less than 40% of looked-after children and care leavers had made applications to the EU settlement scheme, with 156 local authorities positively identifying more than 2,000 looked-after children and care leavers who had yet to apply. May I ask the Secretary of State to tell the House what steps the Home Office has taken to ensure that children in care who are eligible to apply have applied?
First, let me re-emphasise a point that Ministers and I have made in this House on repeated occasions. It is absolutely right that we do everything possible to give children in care the support, more often than not via their local authorities, to ensure that they apply for the scheme. We have been doing exactly that, working with councils, social services and local authorities across the country. If the hon. Lady has any particular cases she would like to draw to our attention, we would be very happy to pick them up.
As the Home Secretary is aware, acquiring settled status has an impact on a person’s right to work and to access accommodation and other services. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that employers and landlords are complying with the right to work and rent guidance, and are not discriminating against EU citizens? Will she also tell me what protections are in place for people to submit late applications to the EU settlement scheme, so that they are not left in limbo, unable to work or at risk of homelessness while they await the outcome of their application?
First, the Home Office has been very clear in the support it will provide to people and late applications. The hon. Gentleman has rightly made an important point about the right to work and the role for employers. Let me give him the assurance that we have been working with employers’ organisations and groups; this is exactly the vehicle through which, even throughout the pandemic, we have been working to communicate the need for employers to work with us to secure the settled status of many, many individuals. Finally, may I pay tribute to many of the employers who have been working with us on this scheme to guarantee that settled status for individuals?