TUC briefing on the Immigration and Social Security Coordination Bill

Report type
Policy proposal
Issue date
15 Apr 2019
Key findings

The Immigration and social security co-ordination bill is currently awaiting its third reading in the House of Commons.

This bill seeks to repeal EU rights on free movement and social security coordination so that the UK can bring in a new immigration and social security system for EU citizens after the UK leaves the EU.  This would enable the government to introduce a more restrictive visa scheme for EU citizens without proper democratic scrutiny via 'Henry VIII' powers in the bill

The TUC is lobbying MPs to oppose this bill as it

(1) stands to undermine the prospect of the UK getting a Brexit deal with the EU that protects jobs and rights;

(2) risks limiting the rights and entitlements of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in EU countries which will

(3) increase the risk of exploitation.

Instead of this bill, MPs should call for a different approach towards immigration policy than that taken in this bill and implement an immigration policy based on rights and decent treatment for all which:

  • is underpinned by strong regulation of the labour market and an end to abuse of agency contracts and zero hours contracts
  • supports collective agreements between unions and employers that ensure decent pay and conditions for all
  • significantly increases investment in public services and training, particularly in areas where austerity cuts have hit hardest, so that everyone has access to the services they need and the opportunity to progress.[1]

The TUC believes it is unacceptable for this bill to place over 1 million UK citizens in the EU and over 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK at risk over their future rights and entitlements by failing to provide any detail about what the future UK immigration or social security system will be post-Brexit.

Since 2016, the TUC has been calling for the government to unilaterally guarantee the right to remain for EU citizens in the UK.  This must include rights at work and the right to continue to claim social security entitlements.  The European Trade Union Confederation has been calling on EU countries to make the same guarantee for UK citizens in the EU.


[1] TUC (2017) ‘EEA workers in the labour market: submission to the Migration Advisory Committee’ https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC%20submission%20to%20MAC%20EEA%20consultation%20final%20formatted.pdf