VICTIMS of human trafficking and modern slavery will have to pay a fee to stay in the UK after Brexit, the Home Office has said, sparking an angry response from campaigners.
The Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, was asked if fees that will apply under the EU settlement scheme would be waived for victims of trafficking and their dependants.
In a written response to Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Paul Blomfield, Ms Nokes said: “With regard to application fees, there are currently no plans to waive fees for victims of trafficking and modern slavery unless the victim is a child in local-authority care. The application fee has been set below the cost of a UK passport, and applicants have until 30 June to make the necessary arrangement to enable them to apply.”
Under Home Office plans, EU citizens who want to stay in the UK after December 2020 will have to apply under the new settlement scheme. The fee for remaining will be £65 for those over 16, and £33 that for those aged under 16.
On becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May described human trafficking as “the great human-rights issue of our time”.
The director of Focus on Labour Exploitation, Caroline Robinson, said that the Government was now contradicting its own promises.
“The Prime Minister has made tackling modern slavery a personal priority,” she said. “Yet, by failing to remove fees for victims of modern slavery, the Government is acting at odds with this priority and denying victims recovery and the hope of a better life.”
Kate Roberts, of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said that the fee was “an extra barrier” for people who had already suffered so much.