Examination of Witness

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:29 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Professor Peers:

Again, it might be more useful to have some kind of statutory protection, at least of basic things such as acquired rights to social security as of Brexit day; obviously, British pensioners or would-be pensioners in the EU would be interested in that, as well as EU citizens who live or have lived here and might return to their original home on retirement. That would be useful as well.

Of course, this is more complicated, because a separate Act has recently passed Parliament that sets out separate powers to negotiate on social security. In this case, with social security, the Commission has proposed EU legislation—I think at the urging of member states—to keep acquired rights in relation to social security on the EU side. Depending on the details of how that gets negotiated, obviously very quickly, on the EU side, that might be something it would be useful to match.

Even if we do not have a ring-fenced agreement on all these issues, which would be ideal, would it not be helpful for everyone concerned to at least match the arrangements on social security and acquired rights? Perhaps that could be a statutory commitment and the Minister could come along and adopt a statutory instrument to match whatever the EU legislation is at the end of the day, which will not be too long from now, I think. That would be a good way to look at it going forward.