WATCH: Sajid Javid slaps down junior minister over no-deal Brexit immigration checks blunder

Posted On: 
1st November 2018

Sajid Javid has slapped down Caroline Nokes after she wrongly told MPs that employers would have to perform immigration checks on EU nationals after a no-deal Brexit.

Sajid Javid appeared on the ITV Peston show last night
Credit: 
PA Images

The Home Secretary said firms would not have to “do anything different than they do today” if the UK crashes out of the bloc in March next year.

Ms Nokes told the Home Affairs Committee on Monday it would be “almost impossible” for bosses to tell whether EU citizens working for them have the right to be in the UK under a no-deal Brexit.

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But she said they would have to undertake “adequately-rigorous checks to evidence somebody's right to work”.

But Mr Javid told the ITV Peston show last night: “If there was a no deal we won’t be able to immediately distinguish between those Europeans that were already here before 29 March, and those who came after.

“And therefore as a result I wouldn’t expect employers to do anything different than they do today.”

He added: “There will need to be some kind of sensible transition period.”

The Home Office meanwhile told the 3 Million campaign, which fights for the rights of EU nationals in the UK, workers “will continue to be able to evidence their right to work by showing a passport or national identity card”.

After Ms Nokes’ appearance at the committee, a spokeswoman for Theresa May said: “There are many options being looked at and we're going to set out more details on that shortly."

They added: "Employers already need to carry out right to work checks. That applies to everyone in the UK."

Stephen Doughty, a Labour member of the Home Affairs Committee, told PoliticsHome the Government’s preparations for a post-Brexit immigration system had become a “complete shambles”.

“It’s all very well talking about how it’s going to work in theory,” he said.

“But we all know that, particularly if they think they’re going to be liable for penalties or fines under the hostile environment [immigration policy], that employers, landlords, and other public service providers are going to act in the most cautious way.

“And if they don’t have the right information, I can just imagine a million different incorrect decisions being made purely because people don’t have the right documentation or clarity on what is being expected.”

The Government is rolling out a ‘settled status’ scheme so that EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years or more can prove their right to residency after Brexit.