IMA responds to Home Office plans to implement judgment following judicial review

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The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has noted Home Office information about how it will implement a High Court judgment in relation to the rights of pre-settled status holders under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), but has expressed disappointment at the lack of meaningful engagement to date and the lack of clarity in the proposals for citizens.

Following legal action by the IMA, the High Court found an element of the EUSS to be unlawful. Specifically, it found that it is unlawful that citizens with pre-settled status would have lost their rights if they had not made a further application to the EUSS before it expired. This means it is not permitted for citizens’ pre-settled status to expire if they have not made a further application within five years of the date on which pre-settled status was granted.

The court also said that the right of permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement is acquired automatically, without the need for a further application, once the necessary conditions are met. You can read more about the background and key issues in the case on the IMA’s website.

The IMA has been engaging with the Home Office for several months to seek clarity about how it will ensure the judgment is fully implemented so that no one will see their pre-settled status expire if they have not made a further application for settled status.

The Home Office has now confirmed how it will ensure the judgment is implemented and has said that it will extend pre-settled status without an application. Citizens with pre-settled status who have not yet obtained settled status ahead of the date on which their pre-settled status is currently due to expire will have their status automatically extended by two years.

This extension will be applied automatically to citizens’ digital status in all relevant cases and there will be no need for them to contact the Home Office in advance. Citizens will be notified once the extension has been applied.

While the IMA welcomes the high-level information that has now been provided, it is disappointed that, to date, the Home Office has not shared the necessary detail for the IMA to be satisfied about how the terms of the judgment will be implemented.

In particular, the IMA continues to request detail about how the automatic acquisition of the right of permanent residence will be reflected once the conditions have been met and how citizens will be able to prove that right.

Chief Executive of the IMA, Dr Kathryn Chamberlain said:

“When we brought this case, we wanted to make sure that no citizen unlawfully lost their right to reside in the UK, together with all associated rights.

“So, while we broadly welcome the commitment from the Home Office that no-one will lose their pre-settled status for failing to make a second application, we remain concerned about the lack of detail about how the plans will work in practice.

“This has made it difficult for us to offer any certainty to citizens with pre-settled status about how the judgment is going to affect them as we have not yet been able to properly assess the measures the Home Office is adopting.”

The IMA will now be speaking to the Home Office in relation to how the measures will be implemented and will provide further updates when this detail is received and assessed.

Anyone experiencing difficulties accessing their rights is encouraged to contact the IMA.

More information about the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme can be found on the IMA’s website.

The rights we refer to include the right to work, access healthcare and education and apply for housing and benefits.

You can also read more about the work of the IMA and download and share resources such as leaflets about citizens’ rights.