To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit's report entitled Not so straightforward, published 8 November 2019, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing a declaratory system under the EU Settlement Scheme for EU (a) children in care and (b) care leavers.
22 January 2020
A declaratory system would significantly reduce the incentive to apply for status and receive documentation proving that status. It risks creating confusion among employers and service providers and will have the effect of impeding EU citizens access to benefits and services to which they are entitled. It could lead to resident EEA citizens who have not applied for a document being discriminated against compared to those to have been documented. And if such a system were applied only to certain cohorts of EEA citizens, such as looked after children, they would be put at the greatest risk of suffering such discrimination.
Children who have do not apply because their parent or guardian did not submit an application on their behalf can submit a late application. This includes children in care and care leavers.
The Home Office has been engaging with relevant stakeholders such as the Department for Education, Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Children’s Services to assess the needs of this group and ensure they are supported.
The Home Office has issued a series of letters to all Directors of Children Services making recommendations about the activity local authorities and their staff need to undertake to make applications to EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) for looked after children and care leavers. Identifying the eligible cohort of children and care leavers was one of the recommendations, along with identifying resource to manage this work stream.
These recommendations have been followed up with a round of teleconferences aimed directly at local authorities and Health and Social Care Trusts to find further information about EUSS and to share information with colleagues across the UK. The aim of the teleconferences is to monitor the level of take up to the scheme and to surface early any problems a local authority might be experiencing. These calls will continue through the lifetime of the EUSS.
A New Burdens Assessment has also been produced in collaboration with key stakeholders representing local authorities and children’s social services to ensure local authorities are funded to identify and support eligible EEA children and family members in care and care leavers.