Rolling out the hostile environment for EU citizens is not an economic decision. It is a purely political decision.
In the event of ‘no deal’ in 2019, I am still relatively lucky compared to some people. For instance, I know people with rare autoimmune disorders who need live medicine that cannot be stockpiled. In the event of ‘no deal’ Brexit, they will get seriously ill or die. I am lucky by comparison.
If you are asthmatic, diabetic, or have allergies, again, this must be tough times for you because if there is a lack of stockpiled insuline/inhalers/epipen, you can get seriously ill or die.
So, I am relatively privileged. Still, in the event of ‘no deal’ it will be hard to prove I have the right to work here. If there is ‘no deal’, employers (!) will have to figure out if their workers have arrived here before Brexit day in order to allow them to continue to work.
The ‘settled status scheme’ won’t be fully rolled out yet, and people who work outside of sectors that are High-Education or Health will have an even harder time as the system won’t be rolled out at all.
Letting employers play immigration office is hugely problematic: it is just a part of the ‘hostile environment’ strategy currently in place for non-EU nationals.
It has been clear from Day 1, after the UK Government refused to guarantee our citizens’ rights, that Brexit is extending the hostile environment strategy to EU nationals. Even with the recent Migration Advisory Committee report showing we are not a drain on public services and benefits, and provide net benefits to the UK.
That is because rolling out the hostile environment is not an economic decision. It is a purely political decision, informed by white nativism. Know your place, foreigner! You can be deported by design, or merely through the deliberate incompetence of the Home Office.
So, now, we have employers having to check our right to work here. Even though Immigration minister Caroline Nokes herself admitted that this would be very difficult to differentiate between people who arrived before and after Brexit. (Note of the Editor: Home Secretary Sajid Javid then contradicted Caroline Nokes on her no-deal Brexit immigration procedure)
Welcome to the chaos!
I am privileged, working in Higher-Education. I will now have to decide whether to do the pilot scheme (probably full of bugs). I now need to consider: what if I am rejected due to the bugs? Is there a retry? Should I just wait it out and see later? Or risk now?
I feel for EU citizens living here who are looking for work. How likely is an employer going to hire them? All that paperwork, lack of clarity, possible penalties for hiring someone without right to work? Better hire a Brit or someone with Indefinite Leave to Remain.
But, hey, a bit of political posturing is so much fun, isn’t it? It makes us feel like Dunkirk, doesn’t it? (which was actually a retreat not a victory — but trust the UK to turn any defeat into national victory).
That good old war time spirit. Let’s show the EU what we are made off by cutting ourselves completely off, stockpiling in peacetime, and making life impossible for EU national workers who keep the economy afloat...🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s conscent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)