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    'We're Living in Dangerous Times,' UK Rejects EU Citizens Applying for Residency

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    The UK government has rejected almost 30 percent of EU citizens who have applied for permanent residency since the nation's vote to leave the European Union.

    The findings, which were reported by the Guardian, found that in the second half of 2016 more than 12,800 EU citizens had their permanent residency requests rejected and 5,500 were declared invalid.

    The UK government responded by saying that applications can be refused for various reasons, including the paperwork not signed correctly or the applicant's failure to pay a fee.

    "It would be wrong to draw conclusions about refusal rates from these [Guardian] figures as they include applications that were invalid. Refusal rates have not changed over the last year," a Home Office spokesperson said in a recent statement.

    ​Sputnik spoke to the former First Minister of Scotland, Henry McLeish PC on the circumstances surrounding Brexit and the overall consequences of leaving the EU.

    Mr. McLeish said that immigration and migration is part of the fabric of the UK, it is Britain's "past and it should be the country's future."

    "Britain needs to be the center of a healthy migration policy and it's high time that the UK Prime Minister Theresa May woke up… We are living in dangerous times," Mr. McLeish told Sputnik.

    To qualify for permanent residency in the UK, the person applying must have lived in Britain for five years or more.

    The rejection figures are released at a particular troubling time for Mrs. May and her Brexit cabinet, with sources claiming the PM is expected to announce that EU citizens who move to the UK after Article 50 is triggered will not have the right to stay in the UK permanently. Those who arrive in the UK after formal Brexit negotiations have begun, may need to have a visa to enter the country.

    Mr. McLeish believes that the UK government's current rhetoric and policy around immigration will have catastrophic consequences on business and finance in the UK.

    "Employers are saying we need to have a strong immigration policy and we need to encourage migrants. The government focused on migration, it was all about terrorism, religion and race and what we have ended up with is a complete and utter mess," Mr. McLeish told Sputnik.

    A spokesperson for the Home Office said in a recent interview that "European citizens in the UK make a vital contribution" to both UK economy and society.

    "That's why we will be securing their status, as well as that of British nationals in the EU, as soon as we trigger Article 50 and the negotiations begin."

    ​Mr. McLeish however does not believe that the UK government has been 100 percent truthful when it comes to Brexit and believes that the government and the Brexiters have failed the people, making false promises and providing "fake news."

    "The government have told lies about immigration and this was the hot topic that exposes once and for all the false claims being made by Brexiters," Mr. McLeish told Sputnik.

    The uncertainty around Brexit lingers, as it does over the future of thousands of EU nationals who reside in Britain and those who will visit the country after its split with the European Union. 

    Related:

    Stockholm, London Agree EU Nationals Should Stay in UK After Brexit
    Over 25% of EU Nationals Consider Leaving UK, Jobs in Britain After Brexit Vote
    Apply With Haste: MPs Reject Automatic Residency Rights for EU Nationals
    Nothing Compares to EU: Non-UK Nationals Fear Deportation
    Tags:
    EU nationals, Hard Brexit, application, policy change, Brexit, policy, migration, immigration, UK Home Office, Henry McLeish, Europe, EU, United Kingdom
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