21.05.2024

IMA Welcomes Home Office Decisions On Measures To Implement Landmark Judgment

From
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The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has welcomed Home Office decisions on changes to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled status holders in relation to how a significant High Court judgment on
citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements will be implemented.

The judge had ruled in favour of the IMA in December 2022 and clarified that the Withdrawal Agreement residence right of a person with pre-settled status does not expire because someone does not make a second application to the scheme, provided they continue to meet the necessary conditions.

The judgment also found that irrespective of an application for settled status, those who have lived here for five years and have continued to meet the relevant conditions (as set out in the Agreements) are automatically entitled to permanent residence rights under the relevant Agreements.

The IMA raised significant concerns with the Home Office about its original measures to implement the judgement and discussed further changes to mitigate these issues.

In the IMA’s view, the Home Office’s initial approach of automatically applying a two-year extension to pre-settled status holders shortly before they approach their current date of expiry did not go far enough to address the judgment. This was because it could potentially adversely impact their rights.

The IMA was concerned this position may have continued to cause challenges for citizens, for example with employment or housing, due to the continued temporary nature of pre settled status being visible to third parties when checking a citizens’ status. The judgment was clear, status should not expire providing the person continues to meet the underlying conditions.

The IMA emphasised its concerns about this approach by the Home Office and sought a review of how they were implementing the judgment. The Home Office has now outlined several further changes it intends to make. These include:

  • Removal of pre-settled expiry dates from View & Prove and right to work (including licensing) and right to rent checking services for third parties;
  • Removal of the requirement for employers and landlords to carry out follow-up checks once pre-settled status has been initially determined;
  • A five-year extension to pre-settled status instead of the current two-year extension and;
  • A public statement to make it clear to citizens how the judgment is being implemented.

Miranda Biddle, Chief Executive of IMA said: “From the outset we have always been clear that the court’s ruling is implemented in a manner that provides clarity and practical resolution for citizens.

“At the same time, it is crucial that in implementing the judgment, the uncertainties being faced in relation to citizens’ ability to access and prove their rights are addressed and concluded.

“We therefore welcome the package of measures which the Home Office has announced they will be putting in place as a pragmatic way of ensuring the principles of the judgment are upheld.

“This will mean that citizens with pre-settled status are assured they will not experience issues when proving their rights to  work and rent  as their digital status end-date will not be visible to landlords, employers and other external third parties.

“The IMA will continue to hold the Home Office to account and will now be monitoring how these measures are implemented.”

The IMA will also continue to give updates on this issue and will be seeking assurance on how these changes are made. We also reserve the right to take further action, including litigation, if necessary, if these measures do not prove effective in ensuring that the rights of citizens are upheld.

Anyone facing difficulties accessing their rights is encouraged to contact the IMA for support.

For more information visit the IMA’s website for detailed information on the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens and their family members who have applied to the EUSS.