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Immigration: EU Nationals

Question for Home Office

UIN 191402, tabled on 14 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's suitability criterion for settled status that the applicant must not be subject to a removal decision under the EEA Regulations on the grounds of their non-exercise or misuse of rights under Directive 2004/38/EC, how misuse of rights will be defined.

Answered on

19 November 2018

The draft Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union published on 14 November 2018 protects the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK by the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020 and their family members. Article 20 sets out the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to restrict the right of entry or residence to such an EU citizen or their family member.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement does not protect those who are not exercising or are misusing free movement rights, and it means that, while free movement rules continue to operate to the end of the planned implementation period, there will remain scope, consistent with the relevant case law, for a person to be removed from the UK on those grounds. It is logical that this is reflected in the Immigration Rules and published caseworker guidance for the EU Settlement Scheme, as it is in the provisions of and published caseworker guidance for the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 which provide for the operation in the UK of the Free Movement Directive (2004/83/EC). The guidance on the Regulations sets out how misuse of free movement rights is assessed and was reviewed following the Gureckis, Cielecki and Perlinski judgments in 2017.

However, the Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme published on 21 June 2018 made clear that the UK has decided, as a matter of domestic policy, to be more generous than the draft Withdrawal Agreement in certain respects. In particular, those applying under the scheme will not be required to show that they meet all the requirements of current free movement rules, such as any requirement to have held comprehensive sickness insurance or generally to detail the exercise of specific rights under EU law, such as the right to work. This means that an applicant will not be refused status under the scheme because for example they are not economically active, their employment is not full-time or they do not hold comprehensive sickness insurance.

An applicant refused status under the EU Settlement Scheme on eligibility or suitability grounds will be covered by the procedural guarantees provided for in Article 18(3) of the draft Withdrawal Agreement. Subject to Parliamentary approval of the primary legislation required to establish a right of appeal for the scheme, we intend that, consistent with Articles 18(3) and 21 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, those applying under the scheme from 30 March 2019 will be given a statutory right of appeal if their application is refused.

Answered by

Home Office
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