Date Published: 01.03.2023
Status: Current
Type: Equal Treatment
Outcome: No further action

EUSS and Enforcement

Summary of Information:

The IMA considered the impact of service of 28-day notices for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and enforcement activity on EU and EEA EFTA citizens who may be eligible to apply for status under the EUSS but do not have either EUSS status, an outstanding application, or an ongoing appeal or administrative review against refusal.

Summary of Actions and Evidence:

In March 2022, the IMA requested a meeting with Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE) to gain some understanding of how EUSS enforcement activity ha been undertaken post-grace period, with a focus on:

  • The issuance of 28-day notices;
  • The follow-up and result of the issuance of 28-day notices;
  • Supporting eligible EUSS applicants who receive 28-day notices; and
  • Consideration of the enforcement approach to vulnerable groups.

The IMA was advised that the HOIE approach to eligible EU and EEA EFTA citizens who have not applied to the EUSS has been one of “support and encouragement, not enforcement” and, where a 28-day notice is served, but the recipient does not go on to make an application, that individual would not be subject to proactive enforcement action.

Summary of Decision

The IMA noted that there were, at the time, no published plans for changes to this approach. The IMA was advised by HOIE that the decision would eventually be taken that those who have not applied to the EUSS, and those who have been refused status (and have exhausted their appeal rights), would fall under standard enforcement considerations.

It was agreed with HOIE that the IMA would require specific details of any changes to the issuance or rubric of 28-day notices and any related activity.

On 30 November 2022, the IMA received confirmation from the Home Office that a decision had been taken to implement standard enforcement measures in the near future with regard to EU and EEA EFTA citizens who have been refused EUSS status and exhausted their appeal rights or have not complied with a 28-day notice. Eligible EU and EEA EFTA citizens will still have the opportunity to apply to the EUSS at any stage of enforcement action. The IMA has been informed that these enforcement measures will be set out in revised Home Office guidance and that the IMA will be notified before this takes effect.

Engagement continues between the Home Office and the IMA to monitor the current situation.

This matter will be placed on a Watch List and reviewed when changes are made to guidance, process and/or approach to enforcement with regard to EU and EEA EFTA citizens.

In the meantime, should the IMA receive any further information or complaints about this or related issues, these will be considered on their merits and in line with IMA’s internal processes.

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The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.