The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has today (14 December 2021) issued judicial review proceedings against the Home Office, as it considers their position that citizens who fail to apply for Settled Status before the expiry of their Pre-Settled Status automatically lose their rights, is unlawful.
The IMA was set up to ensure that public bodies uphold the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens, and certain members of their families, living in the UK and Gibraltar.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), citizens who have lived here for less than five years and so have been granted Pre-Settled Status (PSS) must apply for Settled Status (SS) or re-apply for PSS before their current PSS expires. If they do not apply in time, they will automatically lose rights to work, access housing, education and claim benefits and could be liable to removal.
The IMA considers that the Citizens’ Rights Agreements only provide for a loss of rights in limited circumstances, and this is not one of them. The IMA considers that the Home Office’s policy is therefore in breach of the Agreements.
The IMA has already raised these concerns with the Home Office and issued them with a pre-action protocol letter on 15 October 2021. The Home Office does not agree with the IMA’s interpretation of the Agreements and the IMA has, therefore, begun legal action.
Dr Kathryn Chamberlain, Chief Executive of the IMA said:
“In taking legal action now we hope to provide clarity for those citizens with Pre-Settled Status of which there are 2.485 million as of 30 November 2021.”
The IMA encourages any citizen experiencing difficulties in exercising their rights to make them aware of this through their online portal.
Further information about the IMA and guidance on how to report complaints can also be found on the IMA’s website.