To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of his Department paying the £65 application fee for settled or pre-settled status for EU nationals (a) employed by and (b) working as an outsourced worker in his Department; what estimate he has made of the total cost to his Department of paying those fees; and what assessment he has made of the risks that the EU Settlement Scheme poses to the retention of EU nationals (i) employed by or (ii) working as an outsourced worker in his Department.
In line with other UK Government Departments, Defra currently does not plan to pay the Settled Status Fee for its non-UK EU citizen employees. The fee is set at an affordable rate (£65), less than the cost of a UK passport.
It is not possible to estimate the cost of paying the settled status fee for non-UK EU nationals employed directly by the Department as nationality was not collected until October 2012 as part of pre-employment checks. The Department does not therefore hold this information for a proportion of permanent staff employed by the Department.
Outsourced workers are not employees of the Department and therefore this would be a decision for their employers.
We value the significant contribution made by EU citizens working in the Civil Service and we want these colleagues to continue to play a full role in the work of the Civil Service. We are committed to supporting our EU citizen employees across the Civil Service, and the important engagement with EU national networks across Government will continue over the coming months.