The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) is calling on EU and EEA EFTA citizens who reside in the UK to share their experiences of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as part of an ongoing pre-inquiry investigation into the scheme.
The IMA was established to ensure the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens living in the UK and Gibraltar are upheld by public bodies. It is important that these citizens apply to the EUSS before 30 June 2021 for their rights to remain protected.
However, the IMA has identified a number of issues associated with the scheme via complaints received and wider intelligence including;
- the application process;
- length of time taken to process applications;
- correcting details after making applications;
- contacting the relevant departments or complaining about the process; and
- access to using the digital route.
The IMA is in regular dialogue with the Home Office about these issues and has now launched its first call for evidence in order to gain a broader understanding of the EUSS through the ‘lived experiences’ of citizens who are familiar with the application process.
As part of the call for evidence, the IMA is keen to hear not only from citizens who have or are in the process of making an application, but also from anyone with knowledge and experience of the EUSS including support agencies or individuals who have provided assistance with applications.
Citizens can share their experiences via an online survey which will close on 18 June 2021.
The IMA has the power to conduct an inquiry. The call for evidence provides an opportunity for hearing first-hand from citizens about their experiences and could inform the terms of a future inquiry.
Chief Executive of the IMA, Dr Kathryn Chamberlain said:
“There have been more than five million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme so far, but as we count down to the 30 June deadline it is crucial all applications are processed without error or delay in order for people’s rights to be upheld.
“Our request for information from citizens will provide us with a deeper understanding of the issues which have already been raised with us and will help us consider what next steps we might want to take.
“In the meantime, we are urging citizens to complete their applications to the scheme as soon as possible. We will also continue to engage regularly with the Home Office to encourage them to take action where it is needed.”
Citizens who believe their rights are not being upheld under the Withdrawal and Separation Agreements can submit a complaint to the IMA via its complaints portal.