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The Immigration Bill has passed, but our fight goes on

November 11, 2020 4:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

It will end EU free movement on 31st December - taking away the rights of British people to live, work and study across Europe, and the rights of EU citizens to come here to do the same.

The Bill itself doesn't set out what will come after free movement ends. But we already know that Priti Patel's immigration plans will be a disaster for the small businesses that power the UK economy.

These Tory plans will lead to huge shortages in key sectors like construction and hospitality, where employers are already struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

This Bill takes away the rights of British people to live, work and study across Europe

And they will make the existing social care crisis even worse.

Liberal Democrats have fought at every step of the way to save free movement, oppose the Tories' destructive immigration plans, and protect the rights of British citizens living in Europe and EU citizens in the UK.

We opposed the Bill, while also leading cross-party efforts to amend it to protect citizens' rights, including by providing EU citizens with physical proof of 'Settled Status' - rather than the digital-only system the Home Office is pursuing. Sadly, the Conservatives rejected our amendments.

But our fight doesn't end here.

EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for far too long. They are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. They must have the right to stay.

Those who have risked their health to look after us during this pandemic should be welcome to live here

So we are already gathering support for a private member's bill, tabled by Christine Jardine, that will automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay in the UK - and give them physical proof.

Moving forward, Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose Priti Patel's destructive policies and work to build a fair immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with dignity and respect.

That's why we're also fighting to give all NHS and care staff from other countries the right to stay.

They have risked their health to look after us during this pandemic. They have put their lives at risk for people in our country, and they should be welcome to live here.

No one who has fought to save lives in Britain during this emergency should be forced to leave.