HUNDREDS of EU nationals living in West Dunbartonshire are “in limbo” over whether they can stay in the country, according to new figures.

The latest statistics for the UK’s EU settlement scheme shows 940 people have applied for permanent residency in the area and 610 have been given settled status.

But hundreds of others have been classed as “pre-settled”, meaning they have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.

The figures show a total of 320 EU nationals left in limbo of pending applications or pre-settled. In Glasgow, 29,130 people have applied for settled status, with 14,890 left in limbo.

In response, Martin Docherty-Hughes, Clydebank’s MP, said: “These figures offer a very alarming picture for those waiting to hear from the Home Office and combined with the UK Government’s Immigration Bill which will end freedom of movement, highlights the true nature of the UK Government’s attitude to the tens of thousands of EU and Foreign nationals who have made Scotland their home.

“EU and foreign nationals have contributed greatly during this crisis with many working in the NHS risking their own health to protect our own.

Read more: Union calls for PPE and regular testing of staff in Clydebank schools

“The rank hypocrisy of those in the UK Government is galling when every Thursday they applaud all key workers in our country but when given the opportunity to act they fail to give them the support that they deserve.

“I can only imagine the stress and anxiety that these individuals are going through in their wait to find if they are able to remain in their new home and I will do what I can to get this process expedited.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats called for EU citizens to be given automatic right to stay, particularly given their contribution to the NHS and care sector during the pandemic crisis.

They pointed out that across Scotland, more than 73,000 EU nationals in Scotland have not been granted settled status to stay.

But the Home Office said they were grateful for the contribution to the NHS during the pandemic and that’s why they granted a one-year visa extension for qualifying workers.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are pleased that there have been more than 3.5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme with over a year left to apply.

“Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered the opportunity to submit evidence that they are eligible for settled status – and both mean they have secured their rights in UK law.”