IMA issues statement following Home Office response to inquiry findings

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The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has noted the response by the Home Office to our inquiry into Certificate of Application (CoA) delays.

This certificate is used to evidence a person’s rights, for example to work, rent or access benefits, while their application is being considered. Any delay in issuing a CoA could, therefore, have serious consequences for citizens who are unable to exercise rights under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements (the Agreements) while their application is being considered.

We welcome the Home Office’s commitment to better monitor processing times and acknowledge their acceptance of the first recommendation in our inquiry report.

The IMA remains of the view that providing a timescale for how quickly they intend to issue CoAs would be helpful as it would provide clarity for applicants.

However, the IMA notes that since the conclusion of its inquiry significant changes have been made to the EUSS validation requirements which could have operational impact. Nevertheless, we believe the issuing of a CoA immediately and specifically within five working days of receipt of an application, or any required further information, would be helpful.

The IMA will now continue to work with the Home Office on this matter and undertake monitoring to assess the operational impact of the changes made by the Home Office.

We will also seek to assure ourselves that the problems identified in our inquiry report relating to caseworker availability and training have been sufficiently addressed.

As always, our objective is to provide clarity and reassurance to citizens with rights under the Agreements who, for whatever reason, are yet to apply to the EUSS.