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EU Settlement Scheme

Volume 645: debated on Monday 23 July 2018

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary laid before Parliament on Friday 20 July a statement of changes in immigration rules [Cm 9675] concerning the EU settlement scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members. The Government also laid before Parliament on Friday 20 July the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which provide for the fees and fee exemptions for the scheme.

As set out in the statement of intent published on 21 June 2018, and in my oral statement that day about the scheme (columns 508-520), the EU settlement scheme will be opened on a phased basis from later this year and will be fully open by 30 March 2019, and this will be preceded by a private beta phase to enable us to test the relevant processes and ensure that they work effectively. These measures, together with the Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 on biometric enrolment for the scheme, which were laid on 2 July under the affirmative procedure, will enable this private beta phase to begin from 28 August 2018.

I am very grateful to the 15 public sector organisations set out in the statement of changes in immigration rules which have agreed to take part in the private beta phase. They are 12 NHS Trusts and three universities in the north-west of England, whose relevant employees and students will, if they wish, be able to apply for status under the EU settlement scheme during this period, It is appropriate that the national health service and the higher education sector, which both benefit so greatly from the contribution of EU citizens, should help in this way to establish the EU settlement scheme. As indicated in the statement of intent, we will provide further details in due course of our plans for the phased roll-out of the scheme.

We also continue to expand our wider communications about the EU settlement scheme to ensure that EU citizens and their family members living in the UK are aware of it and of how it will operate, but are also reassured that, in line with the draft withdrawal agreement, they will have plenty of time (until 30 June 2021) in which to apply for status under the scheme.