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 Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 2:39 pm, 29th June 2021

The hospitality sector, among others, has long warned that Brexit would mean it lost much of its workforce, and it has; but worse, more than 100,000 people who want to stay are waiting more than three months for a decision. Does the Minister realise that after this week employers will be scared to employ those workers? In a recent debate, he told me that everyone receives a certificate of application and that this would suffice. Well, the3million advised me today that many have never received this certificate. Why not? I have seen one, and it does not tell employers for how long it remains valid. Again, why not? The process also requires applicants to go through 14 stages on a website—if it is working.

I do not envisage a big bang on 1 July but I do foresee huge problems in the coming months, with people willing to work and employers desperate to employ, but too much uncertainty about the legality of doing so. I appreciate the desire to go digital, but until that digital is working properly, why will the Government not provide physical proof for people, as they can apparently do for covid vaccination status? If it is too difficult, please just do what the Scottish Government and others have called for and extend the deadline—or, better still, scrap the scheme and have a declaratory scheme, which is what was promised by many of the Minister’s colleagues, including the Prime Minister, in the first place.