The Home Office Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry to explore the capacity of the Home Office to meet the Brexit challenge which will include wide-ranging issues such as immigration, policing, security cooperation and custom controls.
The inquiry will start by looking at the delivery of immigration services. Specifically, the committee is calling for written evidence on the following issues:
- Does the Home Office have the capacity to register EU nationals already in the UK?
- What form should that process take and what risks need to be anticipated?
- What challenges does Brexit present for the Home Office’s effective management of immigration at the border and how might the Home Office meet them?
- What different challenges do the ‘no deal’ and ‘transition period’ scenarios pose for the Home Office and how might they be met?
- Is there scope for the Home Office to streamline existing immigration processes and, if so, in what areas might such efficiencies be found?
- What challenges does Brexit pose to enforcement of the immigration system?
- What principles should underpin a future immigration system and to what extent does the existing system meet them?
Oral evidence has already been heard by the Committee on the Home Office’s current ability to make immigration decisions effectively and within a reasonable time frame, and what if any effect Brexit might have on this.
The inquiry is not limited to commentary on the Home Office’s ability to meet its current and ongoing demands. There is a direct request for ideas on how to design future (European) immigration and improve the current processes that are in place once the UK has left the EU.
Reference to ‘streamlining’ on the list indicates there may be some genuine interest in making applications easier for European nationals but it is highly likely that this interest is directly linked to a desire to make them easier for Home Office caseworkers to process due to the high number of applicants that are anticipated.
Magrath Sheldrick LLP will be preparing a response to the inquiry and suggestions need not be limited to the specific questions above. Any parties interested in providing feedback and suggestions should contact [email protected]. Please note that the deadline for contributions is 6 November 2017.