EU Settlement Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 29th June 2021.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:39 pm, 29th June 2021

The promise of absolute clarity is exactly what the EUSS is there to deliver: the absolute clarity that a person will be able to prove, demonstrate and have recorded their rights in this country not just for the next couple of years but for decades to come. That is why we are delighted that we have had so many applications and have already managed to give that certainty to millions of our fellow residents here in the UK.

On the work that has been done with the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, we are keen to reach out to all who could be eligible to apply, hence the letters sent to those for whom there was no record of an EUSS application. Further work will be done after the deadline to encourage those identified in that way to make an application. As has been said before, anyone who is already a British citizen or has indefinite leave to remain under systems that predated free movement does not need to apply—although those with ILR under previous systems may choose to upgrade, for free, to status under the EUSS.

In my opening response I touched on the work we are doing not only to advertise the scheme but via the grant-funded organisations based throughout our United Kingdom that have been working with many of the most vulnerable to ensure that they can apply. More than 300,000 applications have been directly supported by that network, which works with, for example, those with chaotic lifestyles or those who may have been rough sleeping.

On children in care, I am not sure whether I heard the hon. Gentleman say that he thought Government figures showed that only a third of them had applied. In fact, the most recent survey of local authorities, which went to the end of April, showed that 67% of such applications had been made where settlement had already been granted. We continue to work with local authorities and are grateful for the support shown not just for children in care but for adults in care who may need support.

On the position in other countries, I gently make the point that by the day that France opened its system for UK nationals living in France, the EUSS had already received 4 million applications and literally millions of statuses had been granted. We need to have that in mind when we make comparisons.

We have already seen 147,000 people convert from pre-settled to settled status, even though they did not need to do that immediately—they qualified by hitting the five-year period. Again, there will be support and reminders, and there will be reasonable grounds for a late application to go from pre-settled to settled status in a similar vein as for those who miss the deadline tomorrow.

Significant support is available, and if there are compelling or compassionate circumstances after the deadline, we will work with agencies, particularly those that deal with the most vulnerable, to look at expediting applications through the process where needed. My core message today is very simple: if you are eligible, apply now and secure the status that you deserve.