Home Secretary Amber Rudd will be dragged before MPs to explain why EU nationals were sent letters incorrectly threatening them with deportation.
The error came to light after a Finnish academic who has lived in the UK with her British husband for most of the last ten years posted on Facebook that she was told she had a month to leave the country or face being booted out.
Eva Johanna Holmberg said whole episode had aged her “at least 5 years” in less than a week, and she is now “even less likely to trust” the Government over its claims to protect the rights of EU nationals.
The Home Office apologised, but admitted to the Guardian around 100 or so letters had been sent out.
“A limited number of letters were issued in error and we have been urgently looking into why this happened,” a spokesperson said, adding: “We are contacting everyone who received this letter to clarify that they can disregard it.
“We are absolutely clear that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK remain unchanged.”
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was furious with the error, and vowed to launch an investigation when MPs return from their summer recess.
She said: “This is disgraceful - and will have caused huge anxiety and distress for families who suddenly fear being split up even though they are fully entitled to be here. We cannot afford for the Home Office to make mistakes like this.
“Ministers will need to set out how many other errors have been made, and what is being done to remedy them. I am very concerned about the Home Office’s capacity and capability to deal with changing arrangements for EU citizens.
“The Home Affairs Select Committee will be taking evidence on this when Parliament returns.”
The Lib Dems called on Rudd to apologise to those affected, with Ed Davey saying the letters “shame Britain”.
“EU nationals who have made their lives here are already facing huge uncertainty over Brexit,” he said. “It is appalling that some are now being officially threatened with deportation.”
The Government has vowed to protect the right of EU nationals to stay in the UK after Brexit, even though freedom of movement will be abolished.
A paper published in June confirmed the 3.2million EU citizens living in the UK would be able to stay in the UK under a “settled status” scheme.
However, they would have just two years to apply for the new residency status, and Lib Dem Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake questioned how the Government would be able to process such a volume of paperwork when it is making such basic errors as the ‘go home’ letters.