The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements’ (IMA) has introduced a new complaints policy to enable third parties to submit complaints on behalf of EU citizens, ensuring the rights of vulnerable European nationals are upheld.
The IMA exists to uphold the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens who were living in the UK and Gibraltar before 31 December 2020 under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements.
Third parties including individuals as well as advocacy and support groups will be able to report a complaint via the IMA’s portal on behalf of citizens when their consent has been received. The policy is designed to help those who may use individuals or organisations to support them in their daily activities and caters for people who would prefer someone else to communicate for them, particularly if they struggle with the use of English.
The new policy comes as the IMA releases an operational update about the nature of existing complaints. This revealed that the IMA has received over 120 complaints from citizens of 24 European nations.
In terms of the rights associated with these complaints:
- 50% are about the right to enter, remain and access employment;
- 29% are concerned with the right to access social security, housing and healthcare;
- 17% relate to the right to equal treatment; and
- 4% are about the right to mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
The IMA encourages any citizen experiencing difficulties in exercising their rights to make the organisation aware of this through the complaints portal.
Although the IMA cannot resolve individual issues, complaints and other intelligence received enable the organisation to gain a broader picture of the issues faced by citizens and address systemic issues. This type of information has recently contributed towards work to resolve problems with EU citizens obtaining European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) and a pre-inquiry investigation into the EU Settlement Scheme.
Pam Everett, IMA Director of Operations said:
“The IMA recognises that some European citizens require assistance when interacting with public bodies and carrying out day-to-day tasks in the UK and Gibraltar.
“Our updated complaints policy reflects this situation, while ensuring citizens’ have their voices heard and recognising the important work that support organisations carry out. This will enable us to continue to receive crucial information about issues faced by citizens which informs our actions.”