Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 14th February 2019.

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Adrian Berry:

The Bill was designed to bring an end to EU-derived rights that have been domesticated into UK law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act. That is what clause 1 does, and that is fine as far as it goes. It dovetails with the draft withdrawal agreement, which would extend the period of the full EU acquis applying until the end of December 2020, so there is time to consider and design properly, to think, at the top level of primary legislation, what a new immigration system should look like, to allow civil society to feed into that and to allow all of you to bring your expertise to bear on that. This Bill tries to foreshorten all of that, press it all together and say that Ministers decide and that your role is restricted.

What the Bill needs is for clause 4 to be either radically redrawn or omitted in so far as it creates Henry VIII powers, because even on a unilateral commitment about implementing the provisions of the withdrawal agreement in the event of no deal—the Home Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union have published a paper setting out how the transition period will apply on a unilateral basis—you have the time to do that. You do not need to use this Bill to try to create ministerial powers to create a future immigration system. You have the year to December 2020 to do that.