Wales’ Health Secretary Vaughan Gething and Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman have issued a joint letter to the UK Government Minister of State for Immigration, Caroline Nokes to raise serious concerns relating to family members of staff working in the health and social care sector are not being included in the upcoming pilot of the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme.
Both Health Secretaries believe including family members in the scheme would potentially help remove some of the uncertainty for EU staff, and encourage them to clarify their immigration status ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.
They have called for the UK Government to reconsider the scheme, or the Welsh and Scottish Government will not actively promote the scheme to health and social care staff in Wales and Scotland. This decision will not prevent health and social care staff from applying for settled status, the Welsh Government has said.
- UNISON EU members, and citizens’ rights groups formed a human chain from Parliament Square to Downing Street on Monday, where they presented a letter of demands to prime minister Theresa May.
Shadow Brexit minister Paul Bloomfield summarised the content of the letter, saying: “We can’t sleepwalk into another Windrush.” Although Theresa May has guaranteed EU citizens their right to remain in the UK, questions remain about the validity of that guarantee and the actual rights they will enjoy in the years to come.
As things stand, the rights at risk include:
- automatic mutual recognition of some professional qualifications
- the right to be joined by existing family members, partners and descendants of any nationality after transition
- entitlement to all social security benefits, equal to UK citizens.