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EEA Nationals and the TOEIC test

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 3:00 pm, 5th March 2019

I think I can give that reassurance. When it comes to settled status or pre-settled status, there are only three requirements. We ask people to provide evidence of their identity, of their residence in the UK for five years for settled status and less for pre-settled status—enabling them to upgrade to settled status later—and of any criminal convictions.

The second part of the amendment provides for a review of the consequences of the licence issued to ETS to administer the English language test in the UK. As the hon. Lady will be aware, there has been significant scrutiny of this issue over the last five years in Parliament, the courts and the media. A specific inquiry was conducted by the Home Affairs Committee in 2016, during which the Home Office answered more than 100 detailed questions. Given the scrutiny that has already taken place, I do not believe it is necessary to require the Home Office to conduct a further review, and I also do not believe that this Bill, which sets out a framework for the future immigration system, is the correct vehicle to require reviews of previous Home Office actions that have little bearing on EEA or Swiss nationals.

I am aware that, following a meeting with the Home Secretary, the right hon. Member for East Ham passed on details of a further number of specific cases to the Home Office. I assure the hon. Lady that we will respond shortly on these cases and the wider issues that have been raised and continue to be raised. I appreciate that there is frustration at recent delays in response to individual representations, but that is because my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I both take seriously the issues that the right hon. Member for East Ham has raised.

I hope that the hon. Lady is satisfied from the evidence presented that the Bill is not the right vehicle to address any concerns she may have with the historic abuse of the English language test administered by ETS, and I respectfully ask her to withdraw her new clause.