The future for EU nationals in the UK will be debated by MPs on Monday 28th of January in the House of Commons.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-18 will have reached its second reading.
The Bill as it stands will:
- end rights to free movement of persons under retained EU law
- repeal other retained EU law relating to immigration
- confer power to modify retained direct EU legislation relating to social security co-ordination
It will also end free movement for EEA citizens. Those with Irish citizenship will be protected under UK immigration law and their right to free movement will continue.
A device dating back to King Henry VIII of England is included in this Bill which allows the UK Government to make changes without the agreement of Parliament.
The Bill applies to the whole of the UK and may also be extended to any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and any of the British overseas territories.
Theresa May has been firm in her resolve to end free movement of people one of the main pillars of membership of the single market.
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn has also expressed Labour’s desires for limits on immigration but if you watch the clip below there is a bit of a muddle. In the clip he talks about the importance of migration but also says Labour wants control over migration. Freedom of Movement is exactly what it says and it is a condition of membership of the EU and of the single market .
The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament has on many occasions expressed its support for EU nationals however migration is a power reserved to the UK Government and Scotland has no control over it.
EU Nationals currently living in the UK have to apply for settled status. Originally they were to be charged a fee to do so but after the Scottish Government was prevented from paying this fee for EU Nationals working in the public sector, Theresa May announced in the House of Commons that the fee has been removed. Anyone who has already paid will be refunded.
Commenting on the removal of the fee local MSP Maree Todd, SNP said:
“EU nationals in Orkney should never have been asked to pay this fee, just to let them stay in their own homes and maintain the rights they already have, that should have been a given.
“This is a complete U-turn from a beleaguered Prime Minister, who is desperately trying to cling onto some form of power. But this shambolic process only works to highlight exactly why Scotland needs the powers to create a fairer immigration system.
“EU citizens will always remain welcome in Orkney, and across Scotland – they are valued members of all of our communities, they are our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.”
The Scottish Government have also funded Scotland’s Citizens Advice network to provide a new advice service to European citizens in Scotland affected by changes to immigration rules as a result of Brexit. This service is set to go live at the beginning of March 2019.
Applications to the Settlement Scheme will open fully on the 30th March 2019 with the deadline to apply set for 30th June 2021.
Immediately after the result of the EU Referendum was announced, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, reassured EU nationals that they were welcome and valued in Scotland. Nevertheless it will be the UK Parliament through the passage of this Bill which will decide what happens.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame