The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) is advising EU citizens to make sure they apply for settled status as soon as possible amid growing concerns about the length of time it is taking the Home Office to deal with some applications.
With just 50 days to go before the grace period for completing the application ends on 30 June, the IMA is aware there are concerns about the process and believes it is important to learn from these potential issues even if they are not huge in number.
Following Brexit, citizens from the 27 EU countries and the EEA EFTA countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway living in the UK must apply to the Home Office for settled status to enable them to remain in the UK or Gibraltar. Citizens have until 30 June to complete their applications.
The IMA was established to make sure public bodies are upholding the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens living in the UK and Gibraltar.
Since beginning operations at 11pm on 31 December, the IMA has heard from citizens who have had issues when applying for settled status including difficulties with:
- the application process;
- length of time taken to process applications;
- correcting details after making applications;
- contacting the relevant departments or complaining about the process; and
- access to using the digital route.
As a result, the IMA is in regular dialogue with the Home Office to better understand the situation and is actively considering whether it should use their statutory powers further. These powers include amongst others the ability to conduct an inquiry and monitor the exercise of functions by the Home Office.
Chief Executive of the IMA, Dr Kathryn Chamberlain said:
“The IMA has the right to take action when we think there are systemic issues which are affecting how the rights of EU citizens are being upheld by public bodies.
“We are hearing from concerned EU citizens who have issues with their applications for settled status and are therefore in talks with the Home Office.
“These talks are ongoing and will help us assess whether we have reasonable grounds to conduct an inquiry. In the meantime, as we move ever closer to the end of the grace period, we are urging EU citizens to make sure they complete their applications as soon as possible and to continue to contact us If they are experiencing difficulties.”
EU citizens who feel their rights are not being upheld by public bodies can make a complaint to the IMA via their complaints portal.