Examination of Witness

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Joe Owen:

Precisely. This is about how you build safeguards into the system, so that the first time something flags up, you do not necessarily get a very strongly worded letter about having to leave the country, but perhaps a reminder that you need to be applying for settled status. There should be different grades of how the Home Office interacts with people whom it thinks are caught up as a result of not having the information. A time limit is one option and a declaratory system is another option. In the past, when there have been big groups of people who do not have status, you could just do a total amnesty and say, “Fine, we are just going to do a declaratory scheme and issue people with the necessary documentation.” All those things are options. Assuming that those big policy choices do not get taken, just in terms of the structures and processes, it is important that there are these necessary safeguards built in as a kind of bare minimum.