IMA statement on concerns over EU Settlement Scheme

Ongoing access to a Certificate of Application meant that individuals’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement were protected pending final determination of any administrative review or appeal, but also means that, after exhausting their appeal rights, potentially 141,000 people continued to enjoy rights to which they were not entitled, including receiving benefit payments. We understand the government departments affected are working through the implications.

The Home Office has confirmed that this only affects individuals who received a refusal decision between 27 June 2021 and 19 April 2022. Anyone who has been granted pre-settled or settled status is unaffected, and they do not need to take any action.

The IMA is concerned that this situation arose and the impact it could have on those affected. It has therefore written to the Home Office to seek clarity on what steps have already been taken to remedy it and what further steps will be taken.

We are seeking assurance that the EUSS  digital system is fit for purpose, maintained and audited to reflect accurate digital statuses, and accurately available on demand for all eligible citizens.

We will consider the response of the Home Office to our request for information before deciding on what next steps we may take.”

IMA reaches agreement with HMRC to resolve delays in EU citizens’ access to benefits

The IMA received a number of complaints from European citizens who were having problems accessing social security in their home countries in a timely manner. Complainants were experiencing difficulties in obtaining a Statement of National Insurance Contributions from HMRC, a key document for EU and EEA EFTA citizens when applying for benefits.

The IMA was concerned that this issue had the potential to prevent a large number of EU and EEA EFTA citizens from claiming benefits to which they were entitled. In response to the complaints, the IMA launched a pre-inquiry investigation.

HMRC responded proactively to the investigation without the need for a full inquiry and developed a solution to the issue. A recovery plan was introduced to reduce the backlog which has ensured HMRC is back operating at its standard service level agreement.

Read the details of the Early Case Resolution in full via the IMA’s website.

Pam Everett, Director of Operational Delivery at the IMA said:

“I am pleased that HMRC responded proactively to our engagement to ensure the matter was resolved quickly and to limit the impact on people’s lives.

“The IMA is clear that public bodies must protect the rights of EU citizens and we will act where we identify systemic issues that could prevent rights from being upheld.

“But we can only take action if we receive sufficient information, and therefore we would encourage citizens who feel their rights aren’t being upheld to report a complaint to us.”

EU and EEA EFTA citizens residing in the UK and Gibraltar can report a breach of their rights via the IMA’s website.