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:

In an ideal world, yes. However, given that it is the Government’s intention to end free movement, the difficulty will be how to distinguish between EU citizens who are here on a free movement basis before Brexit day—or the end of whatever further period we might have—and those who come after that period and who do not have ongoing free movement rights. How do you distinguish between them if there is not at least some system of registration?

By way of a compromise, it might be useful to make it clearer that settled status is a registration system, rather than an application system, because I think that a lot of people were unsettled by its being described as an application system. I know that the withdrawal agreement says that. It also says that people will have to be given settled status if they meet the criteria, so there is not really any discretion for the Government. Given that, why not simply describe it as a registration system? Otherwise, a lot of people will be concerned about what they see as an implied threat. If we are going to go ahead with it, which seems quite likely, a useful way forward would be to reconceive it.