Settled status: right to appeal

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 10:45 am, 5th March 2019

Hon. Members have tabled three new clauses concerned with providing a right of appeal against refusals under the EU settlement scheme. I absolutely understand the sentiment behind the new clauses and would like to confirm that if there is a deal with the European Union, the Government will use the withdrawal agreement Bill to provide a right of appeal in respect of refusal of leave under the settlement scheme.

Unlike new clauses 10 and 14, under the withdrawal agreement Bill we plan to provide for an appeal right against refusal of settlement scheme leave even where the applicant continues to have a right of free movement in an implementation period. New clauses 10 and 14 are therefore less generous than the Government’s planned provision for appeal rights in a deal scenario.

New clause 34 is also more limited than the appeal rights that we propose in a deal scenario. Under the new clause, non-EEA family members eligible to apply under the settlement scheme would, if refused, not get a right of appeal. The Government’s intention is that, in the event of a deal with the EU, anyone refused leave under the settlement scheme will get a right of appeal.

I make those points not to pick holes in the new clauses but to demonstrate that appeal rights are complex and would require several consequential changes to legislation to ensure that they work effectively. However, I understand that hon. Members are concerned about what the Government intend on the issue, rather than about the wording of specific amendments, and I hope that I can provide some reassurance.

In setting up the EU settlement scheme, the Government have made a commitment to EU citizens, EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members because we recognise that they make a huge contribution to our economy and our society. It is important to us that the settlement scheme works and that it works well. At the same time, in the event that we leave the EU without a deal and as we move towards a single immigration system, I believe that it is fair to provide consistency between the remedies available to those refused leave under the EU settlement scheme and the remedies generally available to non-EEA nationals.