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The Bevan Foundation has welcomed the report of the External and Additional Affairs Committee on changes to free movement.

February 23rd 2021

Last week the External and Additional Affairs Committee completed an inquiry into the end of free movement and echoed our concerns about the rights of EU nationals living in Wales.

EUSS

The Bevan Foundation submitted written and oral evidence to the Committee in 2019 which expressed our concerns about the impact of the end of free movement. The follow-up enquiry  has found some of these issues are still relevant, with some exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Giving evidence to the Committee in January, Claire Thomas expressed our concerns around the European Union Settlement Scheme, and explained that despite the numbers of applications there will still be people who have not applied by the deadline in June. Claire said:

How are organisations going to reach those people who are not aware of the process, and who are most vulnerable? What happens after June when people haven’t applied? What support will be in place for those after that date? 

Actions to support EU nationals

In a letter to the Counsel General and Minster for European Transition the Committee’s conclusions echoes our view that the Welsh Government should continue efforts to contact and offer support to EU citizens in Wales to submit applications before the deadline. Importantly, that support should continue beyond the deadline to ensure that anyone experiencing difficulties with their application are able to receive advice and support.

The Committee has also written to the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration to:

  • Clarify what circumstances would constitute reasonable grounds if the deadline is missed, and
  • Consider the provision of physical proof of settled and pre-settled status.

We hope that the Welsh and UK government takes the Committee’s recommendations into account to ensure EU citizens rights are protected.

You can read more about our work on this issue here

Claire Thomas is a policy and research officer and leads our work on migration and integration. You can follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireThomas77

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