MPs and Peers propose a series of significant amendments to the Immigration Bill.
The Bill in its current form says that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK would be removed after Brexit, and that reinstating these rights relies on the Home Secretary deciding to make secondary legislation. The Committee is concerned that ensuring citizen’s rights therefore relies on Ministers taking action and leaves families in a precarious situation when it comes to their housing, social security, and other free movement rights.
The Committee also shares concerns expressed by other parliamentary Committees that the EU Settlement Scheme as currently proposed creates problems relating to the lack of physical proof of status. They think more should be done to raise awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme and to assist individuals with applications. However, they do not consider that these steps alone will address the concerns around a lack of physical proof of status. The Home Office should ensure that physical proof of status is issued to those registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Getting this right is extremely important considering the similarities of some of these concerns with problems that have arisen with the treatment of the Windrush generation.
The Committee is also concerned at the ambiguity about the situation of those who miss the deadline for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme. These could be individuals who have lived and worked in the UK their whole lives. Their rights should not depend on subsequent registration with a scheme within a specific time limit.
The Committee considers that steps should be taken either to make provision for registration outside of the EU Settlement Scheme time limit, or to ensure that the entitlement to this status is not dependant on registration, for example with the registration solely being used to assist with physical proof of status.
The Committee is concerned that vulnerable people are particularly at risk of missing the deadline because of difficulties knowing about and accessing the EU Settlement Scheme.
You can read the Committee’s full report here.