ROMSEY and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes has said that vulnerable EU migrant women fleeing domestic abuse should return to their own countries, it has emerged.

The Immigration Officer made the statement in a letter to Kirsty Blackman MP, who is campaigning for a change in law to stop EU women who are judged not to be exercising their treaty rights - because they are not working, studying or able to support themselves - having to choose between staying in a dangerous, abusive relationship or facing destitution.

Kirsty Blackman, the SNP Aberdeen North MP, who launched a 10-minute bill on the issue last month, has shared correspondence with Caroline Nokes which claims “temporary migrants” fleeing domestic violence should return to their home countries.

Where they are prevented from leaving with their children, she concedes they may have reason to stay but should “turn to the courts” or look to local authorities to support them, the minister said.

Blackman said that she was shocked by the letter and branded the Home Office “heartless” and “wilfully ignorant”.

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to ensuring that all victims of crime are treated first and foremost as victims, regardless of their immigration status.

“We have committed £500,000 of funding to help organisations combatting domestic abuse strengthen their expertise about immigration rights and improve our understanding of the number of migrant women needing crisis support.

“In addition, Immigration Enforcement is currently engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council lead on domestic abuse to ensure that police and immigration work collaboratively to quickly recognise victims and work to ensure immigration status is not used by perpetrators to control vulnerable migrants.”

The Home Office also states that they offer immediate crisis assistance to victims under the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession, which provides three months leave outside the rules and the ability to apply for access to public funds to secure financial support and safe accommodation.

The concession applies to those who are in the UK on a spouse visa, either as the spouse/partner of someone who is British or settled.

The Home Office can consider granting settled status if there is evidence that the relationship has permanently broken down.