Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Rosa Crawford:

May I add a concern that we have about the settled status programme from those who have already been through the process? Some people are finding that they do not have sufficient evidence from their national insurance records to prove that they have had five years’ continuous residence in the country. Rather than settled status, they are receiving pre-settled status. The Government said that the intention is for pre-settled status to lead to indefinite leave to remain, but it is not a legally watertight guarantee, and we know from the Windrush scandal that any time there is a question mark over immigration status, it can, in the hands of the wrong employer, be used as a means to threaten or dismiss workers.

That is already a problem in the university and health sectors, and now we know that the third phase of the pilot is being rolled out across the economy. As I said, in many parts of the private sector, in distribution and hospitality, people often do not receive any employment contracts at all, so they struggle to provide evidence that they have five years of continuous residence. We worry that they might fall into a legal limbo in which they are unable to demonstrate their legal status, and potentially cannot claim their employment rights and are subject to further exploitation. We want that entire scheme looked at, and for the burden of proof to be taken away from the worker having to prove their five years’ continuous residence, in a more all-encompassing process.