Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Jodie Blackstock:

It does. There is certainly some sense in that argument. What it demonstrates is the difficulty of the gap that will be created with the repeal of these measures. Having a scheme that someone has to apply for means that they have to make that effort, and while their application is being processed, their status is uncertain. Indeed, it may be processed in error, which requires an appeal right, during which their status is also uncertain. We suggest that the transitional arrangements for that group of people should also be in the Bill, with a policy requirement to extend those accrued rights for that group of people until such time as their settled status is determined by way of the scheme.

The reality is that this scheme is currently in a pilot state and only a certain group of people can apply for it until exit day, when it becomes live. At the moment, they have an entitlement to remain here anyway. Even if people were fully able to apply now, they might not realise that they have that right. We have to make provision for that group of people before their status is confirmed. That should be done by way of a transitional arrangement. It could be simply by declaration, but either way, that is a transitional provision that should be clear in the Bill.