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:

It is quite hard to say. This is an app and an electronic process, but that is still a lot of people to go through the electronic process. I do not know about the technological feasibility of it. The difficulty will be with the people who do not get settled status, the people who do not apply and the people who get pre-settled status and argue that they should have had settled status. There will be those categories of people, and there will be some overlap with people who come in either during the transition period, if we have a withdrawal agreement, or during the unilateral, more truncated transition period if we have a no-deal scenario.

In that case, especially if there is no deal, I can imagine employers or landlords being confused about the situation: are these people necessarily entitled to be here or not? There will be people who could have had settled status but do not have it yet because they have not replied or they are waiting for a reply, as well as people who have a more limited leave to stay and more limited rights. Ultimately, there could be some confusion about telling those two groups apart, and we want to avoid a scenario where employers, landlords and banks start to become nervous about renting to or hiring people who are entitled to be here, especially because for a while we will have a category of people who are entitled to be here but do not have the documentation.

That is the background against which we could end up with a Windrush scenario, because at some point there would be greater demands for documentation and some of those people will not have got it or will not then be able to get it. If they have been self-employed, for instance, they may not have the records of all the work they did on an odd-job basis that would easily satisfy the system that they are entitled to be here.