Explanatory Notes

Citizens’ rights

37 The Bill gives effect to the Withdrawal Agreement so that it applies directly in the UK, underpinning the rights contained within Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement in domestic law and providing a means of redress where these rights are not properly implemented, or where other legislation is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement. It will also make provision for the corresponding EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement. In addition, the Bill establishes an independent body to monitor the implementation and application of the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement and the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement in the UK.

38 Certain parts of the citizens’ rights agreements require additional implementation to operate as intended. To implement these obligations, the Bill provides Ministers of the Crown with powers to make provision through secondary legislation. The Bill makes further provision for citizens’ rights by legislating for:

a. rights in relation to entry and residence, including:

i. deadlines for applications and temporary protection;

ii. rights of frontier workers;

iii. restrictions on rights of entry and residence, and retention of existing grounds for deportation; and

iv. appeals.

b. recognition of professional qualifications;

c. co-ordination of social security systems;

d. non-discrimination and equal treatment; and

e. monitoring of citizens’ rights through the establishment of an independent monitoring authority (the IMA).

39 The powers outlined in the paragraphs on the recognition of professional qualifications, social security co-ordination and equal treatment are also available to the devolved administrations, subject to the detailed provisions set out in the commentary below (see paragraphs 174 to 210). The Government can use these powers in areas of devolved competence, but will not normally do so without the agreement of the devolved administrations.

40 In addition to the Bill, the Immigration Rules (made under the Immigration Act 1971) deliver the EU Settlement Scheme. The Bill makes reference to ‘Residence Scheme Immigration Rules’ which provide for all EU citizens, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, resident in the UK to be eligible to apply for leave under the EU Settlement Scheme. This includes citizens who are not meeting the requirements of the Free Movement Directive at the end of the implementation period, or who currently derive an EU right of residence by virtue of their relationship to a UK national, and therefore fall outside the technical scope of the Agreements. All those within scope of the Agreements, or within scope of the UK’s domestic implementation of the Agreements, are referred to below as the ‘protected cohort’.

 

Prepared 19th December 2019