On 14 February 2018, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (“the Committee”) published a new report detailing the challenges that the Home Office will be facing in delivering immigration services once the UK officially leaves the EU. The 59-page report finds that the current systems in the UK are under strain and under-resourced and will not cope with the unpredictable challenges that Brexit will undoubtedly bring.
The report questions the Home Office's ability to implement the systems and staffing required to deliver proposed Brexit changes and criticises the continued uncertainty over the status of EU nationals.
The Committee is particularly critical of the Government for its continued delay over the release of the immigration white paper, which was due for release last year but is now predicted to be ready by October 2018. The white paper will contain details of the UK's new immigration system after Brexit, which should in turn help to alleviate the uncertainty that EU citizens and their families are currently experiencing.
The report concluded that the existing processes in place are already under strain and under-resourced. The Committee is concerned over the pressure this will have on the staff dealing with these applications and whilst the Home Office is in the process of recruiting more staff, the uncertainty of what system will be in place for EU nationals has made it impossible to estimate the extent of the resources required to cope with the anticipated workload.
The Committee urges the Government to provide clarity about what the intended policy for EEA nationals' registration and immigration will be, so that it can be scrutinised and debated properly and responsibly before implementation, and in order for a serious and properly resourced implementation plan with a realistic timetable for the changes can be developed.
The Committee’s report states that the Government should immediately set out more detailed plans for the registration of EU nationals already here, and its objectives for the negotiations over the transition period as this is a crucial policy area that will affect many individuals currently in the UK, their families and their employers.
In turn, by ensuring that the immigration changes for EU nationals are addressed, UKVI, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement will be in a better position to ensure that they are working in advance of Brexit to have systems and staff in place in order to do the job properly and efficiently. Expecting UK immigration bodies to handle an already backlogged system, without the time to plan effectively, puts them in an impossible position to handle the challenges of Brexit.
If you are an EU national in the UK and want to discuss the options available to you to ensure your residency status in the UK is maintained following Brexit, please contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.