EU citizens and their family members could gain the right to appeal decisions on their applications for settled status in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The government unveiled its Immigration Bill during a Queen’s speech on Monday (15 October) that was heavily focussed on post-Brexit planning and law and order reforms.
The previous government position had been that European citizens could only appeal EU Settlement Scheme decisions in the event of the UK leaving with a deal.
A briefing document released after the speech now mentions the government’s “commitment to the EU Settlement scheme and giving EU citizens and their family members who apply a right of appeal against decisions under the scheme.”
The move has been welcomed by Dr Joe Tomlinson, research director for the Public Law Project, who said: “Decisions made through the EU Settlement Scheme will have an enormous impact on the lives and careers of millions of EU citizens and their families.
“When so much is at stake, it is only fair that those affected should have a right of appeal. That right should exist regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.
“PLP has long argued that there should be an appeal right for applicants to the scheme no matter how the UK leaves the EU. Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech indicates that the Government now accepts that position.”
The immigration bill also includes a vow to end free movement, and introduce a point-based immigration system “which will be based on people’s skills and contributions to the UK.”
Image Credit: Pixabay.
This most recent Queen’s speech has been viewed by many as an opportunity for the government to announce its manifesto ahead of a general election that is expected to be called imminently. As the government currently has no majority in the House of Commons, it is very unlikely any of its proposed bills would be become law at present.
Speaking in the Commons, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dismissed the government’s 26 bills. He said: “There has never been such a farce as a government with a majority of minus 45 and a 100% record of defeat in the Commons setting out a legislative agenda they know cannot be delivered in this parliament.”
Kate Allen of human rights charity Amnesty International also fears the issue of Brexit has eclipsed important human rights issues. “It is deeply concerning that the Queen’s speech included no measure to fundamentally reform the UK’s broken immigration system, including unjust Home Office detention and deportation powers,” she said.
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