Home Office has kept Welsh and Scottish government ministers waiting for 15 months for urgent Brexit talks.
Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government Minister for European Transition Scottish Migration Minister Ben Macpherson have revealed their “increasing” concern about what that means for their citizens, their public services and economies.
They say that they not been offered a single meeting with the Home Office since July 2019, and that this means that they haven’t been able to prepare for the planned changes to the immigration and the end of freedom of movement.
Changes are due to come in when Brexit transition period ends on 1 January 2021.
The minsters say this is “particularly worrying” because the changes will impact on devolved areas of legislation.
In a joint letter to Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, of that UK government department, they state: “With one month left to the end of the transition period, we are increasingly concerned that the devolved governments have not been given an opportunity to meaningfully engage on the impact of the planned changes and the end of freedom of movement.
“This is particularly worrying as migration is a cross-cutting policy area affecting many aspects of devolved competency – including housing, healthcare and the delivery of vital public services.”
The letter states: “We write to reiterate our urgent request for a meeting between all four nations of the UK, to discuss migration policy.
“Following the roundtable meeting on 23 July 2019 with Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Scottish Government Ministers and Welsh Government Ministers have written to UK Government Ministers multiple times to request engagement, and yet we have still not been offered a meeting to discuss the end of the transition period and the planned changes to the immigration system that are scheduled to commence imminently on 1 January 2021.”
The ministers say it is “particularly worrying as migration is a cross-cutting policy area affecting many aspects of devolved competency – including housing, healthcare and the delivery of vital public services”.
They add: “As you know, we continue to engage with the Review of Intergovernmental Relations and draft proposals in good faith. A key part of the review is that intergovernmental decisions will continue to work on the basis of agreement by consensus in areas of mutual interest.
“Given the crucial importance of keeping all our citizens safe now and as we emerge from the pandemic, it is vitally important that we seek to work together on areas where devolved and reserved issues intersect, like migration.
“We hope that we can rely on your cooperation and engagement, and that a meeting is arranged prior to the end of the transition period, to ensure the future prosperity of all nations of the UK.”