UK to begin registering EU nationals for ‘settled status’ by end of 2018. Home Office seeks 1.200 immigration workers before Brexit
BREXIT – The registration of 3 million EU nationals in Britain will begin by the end of next year with the “default position” of the Home Office to accept applications, the home secretary has told MPs. The Home Office is recruiting an extra 1,200 immigration caseworkers to help register the 3m EU nationals currently living in the UK before the Brexit deadline, Amber Rudd has revealed.
Outlining her plans for the mass registration effort, the home secretary said a new online system to confer “settled status” on EU residents would be up and running by the end of 2018. This will replace the much-criticised 85-page permanent residence application form, whichrequires documentary proof of residence and earnings over five years.
By contrast, Ms Rudd said the new form would be designed specifically for EU nationals and that the “default position” would be to accept their applications unless there were concerns over fraud or criminality. The system will automatically link up with HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions to lessen the bureaucratic burden on applicants, she explained.
Amber Rudd said that 1,200 extra staff were to be recruited by next April to provide an “easy access” registration process that she promised would be “completely different” from the troubled permanent residency application system that has undermined confidence in the Home Office.
The home secretary also fuelled the Brexit debate within the cabinet by telling the Commons home affairs committee that leaving the EU without a deal would be “unthinkable” for Britain and the EU after being asked a series of questions about the implications of the lack of any agreement for security and immigration.
The Home Office’s permanent secretary, Philip Rutnam, told MPs that it would be unwise to rule out using troops to police the borders in a no-deal Brexit but stressed that the use of the army would be an “absolute last resort”.
Rudd tried to reassure MPs in the face of recent scepticism of the capacity of the Home Office to deliver the registration of 3 million EU nationals by insisting that it would be an “easy access” online process for those who opt to apply that way and would not involve 80 pages plus, as is the case with existing permanent residence applications.
Source: The Guardian