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Government introduces the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill


Landmark Immigration Bill to end free movement begins passage in the House of Commons

Date of Publication:
05 March 2020

Government introduces the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

05 March 2020

The Government has today introduced the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, beginning its passage in the House of Commons.

The Bill, which you can access from here, will end EU free movement in the UK.

The explanatory notes explain: "The purpose of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill (the Bill) is to end free movement of persons in UK law and make European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens, and their family members, subject to UK immigration controls. The Bill ends the EU's rules on free movement that are retained in UK law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ("EUWA 2018"), as amended by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 ("EUWAA 2020") and repeals section 7 of the Immigration Act 1988, which exempts EU citizens from requiring leave to enter or remain in the UK. The Government's intention is at the end of the transition period, 31 December 2020, citizens of the EU, the EEA EFTA states of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, and of Switzerland, and their family members, will require permission to enter and remain in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971. The Bill protects the immigration status of Irish citizens once free movement ends. It also contains provision for the Government (and/or, where appropriate, a devolved authority) to amend retained direct EU legislation relating to the social security co-ordination regime, which is retained in UK law by the EUWA 2018."

The measures in the Bill include:

• repealing the main retained EU law relating to free movement and bringing EEA citizens and their family members under UK immigration control to enable the introduction of the global points-based immigration system;

• protecting the status of Irish citizens in UK immigration law once their EU free movement rights end;

• a power to amend, by regulations, legislation in consequence of, or in connection with the ending of free movement. This will enable the alignment of treatment for EEA and non-EEA citizens as part of the future immigration system, subject to saving certain provisions where appropriate and in accordance with the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU; and

• powers to amend, by regulations, retained EU law governing social security co-ordination, enabling policy changes to be delivered following the end of the transition period, and depending on the outcome of negotiations with the EU on the future relationship.

The Government heralded the new Bill as an important milestone in paving the way for the new UK points-based immigration system.

Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said:

"Today we've taken the momentous first step to end free movement and take back control of our borders, delivering on the people's priorities.

"Our firmer and fairer points-based immigration system will attract the brightest and best from around the globe, prioritising those who come to Britain based on the skills they have to offer, not on the passport they hold."