Immigration Minister Gives Evidence About Brexit To Committee

On 12 July 2016 James Brokenshire MP (then the Immigration Minister, now Secretary of State for Northern) appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee to give evidence of issues around Brexit and the status of the estimated 2.9 million EU nationals currently living in the UK.

In giving evidence, Mr Brokenshire gave his assurance to the Select Committee that the rights of EU nationals would be unaffected whilst the UK remains part of the EU and that things may change only once the UK left and that the Home Office would “act reasonably and appropriately”.

However, whilst acknowledging that EU citizens lawfully living here for five years have the right to permanently reside in UK and confirming that the UK government would continue to follow their obligations in respect of those citizens under EU law, Mr Brokenshire stopped short of guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens beyond this explaining that this would have to be discussed as part of the Brexit negotiation talks to take place in parallel with securing the rights of UK nationals living elsewhere in the EU.

When pressed on whether it was likely that a Points-Based System would be extended to EU citizens within the UK, Mr Brokenshire indicated that the “Home Secretary has stated herself that existing free movement cannot continue as it has done”, that the Home Office through the Cabinet Office was currently engaged with the process to “assess the range of options and permutations that might exist”, that the Points-Based System was not necessarily the “right way forward or right option”, and that it would be for the new Prime Minister to “determine other arrangements that could be considered as well”.

Ms Mandie Campbell, Director General of the Immigration Enforcement Directorate also appearing before the Home Affairs Committee confirmed that the Home Office would be “feeding into discussions” with the Cabinet Office group headed by Olly Robbins centred around the government’s Brexit negotiating position.