Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has condemned news that hundreds of EU citizens in the Northern Isles were still awaiting proper confirmation of their settled status.
He said official figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats showed that approximately 200 EU citizens in Shetland and 60 in Orkney remained in legal limbo over their settled status, either through having only been granted pre-settled status or having had no response to their application.
Media reports had suggested that Home Office staff could not access paperwork held in offices due to inefficient home working procedures.
Mr Carmichael said: “EU citizens make a massive positive impact in the Northern Isles and the coronavirus crisis has only made that impact clearer.
“The pandemic has demonstrated the vital contributions that workers from all over the world make in supporting our economy and keeping the NHS running under severe pressure.
“The ongoing legal limbo for over two hundred EU citizens in the isles is unacceptable. Continued confusion and delay caused by administrative problems must be put right.
“Failing to do so puts people’s futures and lives clouded in uncertainty. They deserve better from a government that promised their right to remain.”
Mr Carmichael said the news came during a week in which the government had seemed “blind to the importance of immigrant workers” in the health and social care sectors.
He added: “I am glad that the Prime Minister backed down on plans to charge immigrants working in the NHS but it should never have come that far. The EU citizens will be vital in ensuring that we come out of this crisis stronger.”