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Agenda item 3 - EU Settlement scheme

1. Data published by the Home Office shows that the number of EU citizens in North Yorkshire applying for the right to live here after Brexit (known as settled or presettled status) is significantly lower than the rest of the UK. If this position continues, the risks include a negative impact on the local economy and people living in North Yorkshire without access to public services.

2. More information about the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is included in the appendix, but in essence after 31 June 2021 EU citizens and some other people without settled or pre-settled status will not be able to: 

  • live, work or rent housing in the UK
  • enrol in education or continue studying
  • use the NHS for free or access public funds and services such as benefits
  • travel in and out of the UK

3. The latest available data by local authority area (30 September 2019) suggests that 40% of eligible population in North Yorkshire have applied, compared to 58% nationally.

4. Significant numbers of EU citizens are employed locally, particularly in the agriculture, hospitality and social care sectors. A reduction in the number of EU citizens choosing to work locally is likely to adversely impact on these and other sectors.

5. Freedom of movement between EU countries and the UK, and the existing immigration rules for all non-EU citizens, will continue as at present until 31 December 2020. However, the likelihood of EU citizens arriving and/or staying now and in the future will depend on a number of factors including the value of the £ against the € and the extent to which people feel welcome in the UK after Brexit.

6. The EUSS application process is relatively simple if people have all of the following:  electronic evidence held by HMRC that they have lived and worked in the UK  a current biometric passport  access to a compatible Android or Apple device  a sufficient command of the written English language

7. Some people do not have all of the above for various reasons which can take many months to overcome. Examples include errors in payroll records submitted to HRMC. Those without a current biometric passport may need to travel back to their home country. Children born in the UK may have particular difficulties. 

8. The County Council Registration Service can assist people to access a compatible Android or Apple device, but it cannot provide immigration advice or assist people if they are having other difficulties with their application. The Home Office has funded a number of voluntary organisations to offer advice and assistance but the nearest are in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire or Newcastle.

9. The Government will be launching a campaign on 10 February 2020 to encourage eligible people to apply. However, it is likely that isolated and vulnerable people will be less likely to be reached by the campaign and may need additional support to apply.

10.Organisations represented at the Chief Executives Group are encouraged to consider what actions they can take to ensure that all eligible people are informed and, where necessary, supported to apply. Examples of action could include:

  • Communicating key messages to residents, customers and employees (for example the County Council will be issuing media stories with case studies about local people who have successfully applied);
  • Displaying campaign material (e.g. posters and leaflets) produced by the Home Office (currently only available to local authorities);
  • Contacting employers that may employ significant numbers of eligible people and encouraging them to inform and support their employees; and
  • Focused communications with customers who are likely to be eligible.

Neil Irving Assistant Director - Policy, Partnerships and Communities
North Yorkshire County Council

29 January 2020