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

What I would say is that the EUSS itself is the lesson learned from Windrush. Granting people status via an Act of Parliament, with no record taken and no document to prove it, might work for a few years while people can still easily prove where they were living on a particular date, but many years down the line it produces the outcomes we saw. That is exactly why we have been keen to make the EUSS relatively simple and open, with criteria that are basically based on residence, not on exercising specific free movement rights, which would have been far more restrictive and complicated for applicants to prove.

Intensive work is being done to support the most vulnerable, with 72 grant-funded organisations being funded up to the end of September to continue supporting applications and those with status beyond the deadline tomorrow. Again, we have been working closely with local authorities to reach out to those in care—not just children in care, but adults as well.

Literally millions of applications have been received, although it is hard to give a precise figure for how many applications are currently outstanding, given that literally thousands are still coming in every day—and we very much welcome that. To reassure the House, we have dealt with much larger surges of applications. For example, around Christmas, we were receiving literally tens of thousands of applications. Also to reassure the House, the vast majority of those have already been resolved, with all but a small percentage having been granted status under the EUSS.

We believe that we have made great progress, but, as we have touched on before, we have published non-exhaustive guidance on what we will see as reasonable grounds for a late application, including for many vulnerable groups. We have also published guidance for employers—and landlords—on what their approach should be to an EEA national they had employed before the deadline and how the first resort should be to look at supporting them in making an application.

The hon. Gentleman said that 28-day warnings have been issued. To be clear, those have not been issued. We have not got to the deadline; what he was referring to is the approach we will take when we encounter people who may be eligible for EUSS status after the deadline.