Agenda item


            The Policy and Business Development Officer provided an overview of the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            The purpose of this report is to update Members on the latest information from the Home Office in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme.


2.0       Recommendations


            Members are asked to note this report.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


            The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) enables EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK, and their family members, to obtain the UK immigration status they will require to live, work and study in the UK after 30 June 2021.  Irish Citizens are not required to apply to the EUSS but may choose to do so.    


            Members are reminded that this Committee received a report in January 2020 updating them on a session that was being held in City Hall on 12th February.  This session was run by Advice NI and specialist advisors were in attendance to assist people with the application process. A total of 22 people with a range of nationalities attended the session. 


            Members are also advised that the Home Office has held a series of teleconference calls for local authority staff from across the UK.  The most recent call took place in mid-January and key messages from it included:


·        EUSS application figures by local authority now published quarterly on

·        An update was provided on the communications that had been undertaken to promote the scheme and the marketing materials that are available for Councils.

·        In 2020, there will be a move away from large-scale campaigns to more targeted marketing at the hard to reach groups.

·        To be eligible to apply to the EUSS you must be in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 and the application process closes on 30th June 2021.

·        Under the Withdrawal Agreement there is an indefinite right for close family members to join a relative in the UK, if the relationship existed prior to the end of the transition period.

·        Funding for the organisations who are supporting people to apply to the EUSS ends on 31st March 2020 – the Home Office are currently reviewing the funding and will make a decision on additional funding in due course.


            Number of applications


            The statistics covering the period up to 31st December 2019 were released in early February and a breakdown of the applications for Northern Ireland by local council area are included as appendix 1.  Some key facts are:


·        As of 31 December 2019, over 2.7 million (2,756,130) applications had been received, with 92% received in England, 5% in Scotland, 2% in Northern Ireland and 2% in Wales.

·        44,580 applications have been made in Northern Ireland and 8,400 of these have been made in Belfast.

·        Northern Ireland had a noticeably higher proportion (17%) of applications from applicants under 18 compared to the rest of the UK.

·        In Belfast, the highest number of applications were from Polish (2,490) and Romanian (1,460) nationals.

·        Of the applications submitted in Belfast, 86% have been concluded and of these 61% were awarded settled status and 38% pre settled status[i].


            Members are advised that the UK government are currently developing their immigration policy post EU exit.  The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published a report on 28th January 2020, which responds to the request from the Home Secretary to the MAC to consider how a points-based system immigration system could be introduced in the UK to strengthen the UK labour market.  A copy of this report is available at



            Financial & Resource Implications


            There are no financial or resource implications relating to this report.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment


            There are no implications relating to this report.”


            The Policy and Business Development Officer highlighted that, since the report had been published, the Government, on 19th February, had published its new Immigration Policy which included its proposed immigration plan (copy available here).


            During discussion, Members raised concerns in relation to the impact of the new immigration policy. The City Solicitor advised that work was already being undertaken by the Economic Development Unit in this regard and that a report would be submitted to a future meeting with details of how the new Immigration Policy might impact Belfast and Northern Ireland.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided and agreed that representatives from the Retail NI/Trade Sector Groups and Trade Unions be invited to attend a future meeting to discuss the impact of the new Immigration Policy. 



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