EU citizens are our friends, neighbours and colleagues, and we want them to stay. The EU settlement scheme enables them to do so, and we launched a £3.75 million marketing campaign in March to encourage them to apply.
If these people genuinely are the Home Secretary’s friends, colleagues and neighbours, perhaps the Government should start to treat them as such, instead of preparing to make them the victims of another Windrush-type scandal. The Home Affairs Committee recently reported that thousands of EU nationals in the UK run the risk of being left with an uncertain legal future. Does the Home Secretary not accept that it is time to get rid of the application and potential refusal system that they have just now and replace it with as a system of right to remain by declaration? That would leave the onus of proof on the Government if they think that someone should not be allowed to stay, instead of making the person prove that they can.
The settlement scheme is working incredibly well. To update the House, 800,000 applications have already been made since its launch, with almost 700,000 concluded. The hon. Gentleman mentions Windrush, and if he wants another Windrush, he should continue with the proposal that he just suggested.