Free Movement of EU Nationals

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:14 am on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department 11:14 am, 2nd October 2019

My team will provide me with the answer shortly, and I will come back to the hon. Lady on that question.

Thus far, 1.7 million people have applied to the scheme and more than 1.5 million have already been granted settled status. In a no-deal scenario, law-abiding individuals will also be able to live, study, work and access benefits and services in the UK until the remainder of the free movement framework is repealed by Parliament at the end of 2020. If they wish to stay beyond that point, EEA and Swiss citizens and their close families will be able to apply for European temporary leave to remain through a new scheme that we will launch after exit to provide them with a bridge into the new immigration system.

The ETLR scheme will be opened by the Home Office after exit. Applications will be free and involve a simple online process and identity, security and criminality checks; successful applicants will receive permission to stay for three years. This will give individuals and their employers confidence and certainty that they can remain in the UK after the end of 2020. Anyone who wishes to stay in the UK after their temporary status expires will need to make a further application under the new points-based immigration system.

On that future immigration system, our vision is for a truly global country where we welcome the brightest and best, where we are more outward-facing, and where we decide who comes here based on what they have to offer and their circumstances, not where they come from. That is why the Home Secretary has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the benefits of a points-based system and what best practice can be learned from other international comparators, including the Australian immigration system. The MAC is also undertaking an existing commission on salary thresholds.

We will announce the details of the UK’s future immigration system early next year, after considering the MAC’s advice on these issues. That will provide time for businesses to adapt ahead of the implementation of the new system from January 2021.