https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/09/18/home-office-in-the-media-blog-18-september-2018/

Home Office in the media blog: 18 September 2018

Today’s Home Office stories include the Migration Advisory Committee's EEA migration report and county lines.

Home Office in the media

Home Office response to the MAC report

This morning the Migration Advisory Committee published its assessment on the economic and social impact of European Economic Area (EEA) citizens in the UK. Most outlets focus on the recommendation that EEA nationals should not be given preferential treatment over non-EEA nationals when drafting future immigration police.
Our response to the report can be found below:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“After we leave the EU, we will take back control of our borders and put in place an immigration system that works in the interests of the whole of the UK.

"We commissioned this report in addition to our engagement with business to better understand the impact of EU citizens on the UK labour market. The Government is clear that EU citizens play an important and positive role in our economy and society and we want that to continue after we leave.

“We will carefully consider the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations before setting out further detail on the UK’s future immigration system.”

Further Lines:

• Our future immigration system will take into account the findings of the MAC and engagement with stakeholders up and down the country.

• The Government will have sufficient time to take account of the MAC’s advice when making any final decisions about our future immigration system, which will be implemented from 2021.

• As set out in the White Paper on our future partnership with the EU, we will also seek to agree a framework for mobility which will support businesses to provide services and move their talented people between the UK and the EU.

• The EU Settlement Scheme will make it easy for EU citizens to get the status they need, and when it is launched, they will only need to complete three key steps - prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.

• The EU Settlement Scheme is currently going through Private-Beta testing. In a managed live trial, EU citizens working at 12 NHS Trusts, and students and staff from 3 Liverpool universities have been invited to make real applications for settled status through the new digital process. This allows those working on the scheme to test the system using real applicants and make improvements ahead of the launch of the scheme. Assuming they are eligible, all those who go through the process will be granted settled status.

• The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019.

County lines

The Daily Mail splashes for a second day on county lines, reporting comments by the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield that the true number of children “enslaved as drug runners in towns” across the UK could be as high as 50,000. The paper reports that the “epidemic of drugs gangs is responsible for a child protection crisis as serious as the threat of terrorism”. Ms Longfield has warned that no child, regardless of their background, was safe as she likened the crisis to the scandal of the child-sex grooming gangs operating in towns such as Rotherham.

The paper also states that the Home Office has issued new guidance on county lines revealing that white British children aged 15 to 16 are most at risk of exploitation.

A quote from Minister Victoria Atkins is carried in the coverage and can be found below.

Minister of Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said:

“This Government is working to tackle the gang activity that has such a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities, and our Serious Violence Strategy strikes a balance between prevention and a robust law enforcement response.

“The strategy includes a range of measures to confront county lines gangs and their impact on the drugs trade, violence and the exploitation of vulnerable people.

“This includes the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre, which we will establish with £3.6million of funding, this will bring forces together, improve their understanding of this crime and support operational policing.”

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