“No one wants to live in Sheffield”
Home Office officials are panicking because they are unable to recruit the huge numbers of staff required to cope with processing the three million EU nationals residing in the UK.
The government has announced that after Britain leaves the EU (currently scheduled for March 2019, although this is likely to be extended given the current deadlock surrounding EU negotiations), EEA nationals residing in the UK will have up to two years to apply for settled status.
To qualify for settled status, EEA nationals must have been living legally and continuously in the UK for five years. Those who have not yet met the five-year requirement will be entitled to apply for continued residence in the UK on a temporary basis until they reach the five-year threshold.
Hundreds more immigration staff will be required to process all these applications. And while the details around settled status are still in a state of flux, London’s best immigration solicitors are still advising that EEA nationals should apply for their Permanent Resident Cards and then British Citizenship to future-proof their right to live in the UK free from immigration restrictions.
“No one wants to live in Sheffield”
The Government has already hired 700 more immigration caseworkers and wants to find another 500 over the next six months.
However, the best immigration lawyers are worried that this figure will not even begin to cover demand because it will leave each employee handling the cases of 1,500 different EU citizens.
Despite producing successful bands including Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Def Leppard, being the mecca for snooker, and sitting right on the edge of the stunning Peak District, Home Office officials have stated they are having trouble convincing potential employees to move to Sheffield, where a vast international visa processing centre is based.
The Home Office told the Independent that European work was carried out at its hub in Liverpool, rather than Sheffield, where it had no issues with recruitment. However, as demand grows, it is likely the workload will need to be spread over multiple immigration centres.
And, in a statement that will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows, the Home Office stated that the positions available are not UK-restricted, so will be open to European workers.
So just to make that clear – one of the reasons Britain is leaving the EU is to restrict migration, so British jobs go to British workers. But to ensure the Brexit process runs smoothly, the government may have to recruit EEA nationals as it cannot find enough British workers to fill the positions.
The Brexit process is steadily becoming more farcical by the day.
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Posted on: Friday, 24 November, 2017