MPs are warning that continued delays to plans for immigration after Brexit are causing more anxiety and uncertainty for EU citizens and UK businesses. A cross-party parliamentary report from the Commons home affairs committee said the lack of a firm timetable for new rules to be made law was unacceptable. The report said workers at the Home Office were being challenged with “a lack of resources, high turnover of staff and unrealistic workloads” and that mistakes with “life-changing consequences” were being made as a result of the pressure.
A need for “urgent clarity”?
The committee said it was becoming impossible for staff working in immigration enforcement, border control and visas to fulfil their duties efficiently. The chair of the committee, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, said “urgent clarity” was needed about the registration and border plans so they could be scrutinised by parliament and plans can be made by families, employers and officials. She urged the Home Office to lay out its intentions for next year’s exit from the European Union.
New registration systems
The report comes after news that an immigration white paper was being delayed repeatedly. The paper was originally due to be published in summer 2017 but is now not set to be unveiled until the completion of the transition deal. There are now fears it may not even be published by the time 2018 comes to a close. Questions have been raised about whether one or two registration systems for EU nationals will be introduced after Theresa May said EU citizens coming to the UK during the transitional period would not be granted the same rights as those already in the country.
“Immense bureaucratic challenge”
Yvette Cooper said the Government were failing to “appreciate the immense bureaucratic challenge they are facing or how much time and resources they need to plan on Brexit”. The report suggested it would not be plausible for two reliable registration systems to be readied by March 2019, when the UK leaves the EU. It said “needless uncertainty” was stopping individuals being able to plan for their futures and that businesses and public services were unable to identify the best ways to source new staff.
The settled status scheme
A spokesperson for the Home Office said it was “wrong to say” that EU citizens already living in the UK were experiencing uncertainty, pointing to the settled status scheme, which will enable all EU citizens and their family members already legally living in the UK to remain following Brexit. The spokesperson said the Government had made plans to recruit a further 1,500 staff across the borders, immigration and citizenship system.
How we can help
At HS Lawyers, we will be watching these developments very closely and are here to help if you require any legal help with any matter related to immigration. We specialise in areas such as visitors’ visas, EEA applications, family reunions, marriage visas, sponsorship declaration, indefinite leave to remain and extensions of stay and can offer immigration advice and assistance at highly-competitive rates. To get in touch today, call our Head Office on 0121 525 2555 / 3100 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.