An MP has warned about the dangers of a “Windrush” scandal for EU citizens as she raised the case of a Polish man denied benefits – despite living in the UK since he was six.
Joanna Cherry highlighted the case of her 20-year-old constituent who has struggled to Jobseeker’s Allowance despite spending the majority of his life in the UK and describing the incomprehensible letter he received as “Kafkaesque”.
She told MPs: “The Polish have long made a valuable contribution to Scottish society.
“My Polish constituent is a young man who’s lived in Scotland since he was six but when he applied for Jobseeker’s allowance last month he failed the habitual residency test.
“Even the DWP cannot understand the Kafkaesque letter he’s been sent.
“Like the Windrush scandal is this the shape of things to come for EU citizens in the United Kingdom?”
As Home Secretary Mrs May famously vowed to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants.
Critics say this led to a surge in members of the Windrush generation – Commonwealth-born migrants who came to Britain before 1973 – being wrongly told to produce documents or leave the country.
All those who arrived before 1973 had the right to stay but the Home Office destroyed arrival documents, and many did not have the right paperwork.
The Prime Minister insisted that the rights of EU citizens had already been agreed as part of the EU negotiations.
The government has unilaterally moved to guarantee the rights of those citizens in the UK – without a reciprocal agreement for UK citizens in the EU.