73.The EU Settlement Scheme will be mandatory, and witnesses were keen to stress the importance to EU citizens of applying to the Scheme and confirming their status. Colin Yeo said that not to do so would be “disastrous”; Luke Piper said that the consequences are “dire”. However, we have heard that there are several issues which are preventing EU citizens from accessing and successfully gaining status under the Settlement Scheme.
74.The Institute for Government stated that “No similar system internationally has ever succeeded in reaching 100% of those eligible and there is no chance that the UK Government will either”. A report by British Future stated that, while 70% of EU citizens in the UK will have correct information about the scheme and will be able to submit applications with ease, research suggests about 30% of EU citizens risk being left out. This would equate to over one million people.
75.Many EU citizens may not apply because they do not know about it, do not realise it applies to them, or do not realise that it is mandatory. Reports by British Future and the Migration Observatory have highlighted groups at particular risk, including:
76.Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Co-Convenor of the Cavendish Coalition of health and social care organisations, told us that a survey of its EU members by the British Medical Association in November 2018 found that more than one third were unaware of the Settlement Scheme. Jill Rutter, from British Future, said that in the absence of clear guidance and wider public understanding numerous unscrupulous advisers have set up, advertising on social media and charging extortionate prices.
77.The Justice Sub-Committee of the House of Lords European Union Committee highlighted awareness of the Scheme as one of its principal concerns, calling the Home Office’s initial advertisements on social media “ill-judged and objectionable” and emphasising that online advertising will not be a suitable way of engaging vulnerable and harder-to-reach citizens. It stated that it is “paramount that the Home Office commits to a wide-ranging campaign to reach out to all EU/EEA citizens living in the UK”, recommending that the Government increase its advertising in publicly accessible locations and engage with local authorities and national organisations such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
78.The Home Secretary told the Sub-Committee that the Home Office had “put in place a comprehensive plan to communicate about the scheme through a broad range of channels”:
79.The Government must improve public awareness and understanding of the EU Settlement Scheme, and of the importance of applying. Too many people are at risk of failing to apply, and this will have serious ramifications for their future in the UK. We welcome the Government’s plans for a concerted national advertising and awareness campaign to accompany the full roll-out of the Settlement Scheme, which is not only digital but also accessible to those who may not have an online presence. In addition to this, we recommend that the Government works with local and national community and support groups, to ensure that information reaches hard-to-reach groups.
80.When we took evidence in February 2019 we were told that one group at particular risk of being left out of the Settlement Scheme was derivative rights holders—citizens whose rights to live and work in the UK come from wider EU law rather than the freedom of movement directive. While some derivative rights holders—such as Teixeira, Chen and Ibrahim carers—were protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, we were told that at that point Zambrano carers “had no answer at all to what their continuing rights are going to be under the scheme”. The Government had said in May 2018, in its response to our report on Home Office delivery of Brexit, that “Domestic policy proposals relating to Zambrano carers will be set out in due course”, but such guidance for this cohort did not materialise until March 2019 when the Immigration Minister stated that the Settlement Scheme “will be open to others lawfully resident in the UK by virtue of a ‘derivative right’ to reside”, including Zambrano carers.
81.It should not have taken such a length of time for the Government to make a clear and unambiguous statement on the rights of Zambrano carers under the Settlement Scheme and following Brexit. We welcome the clarity the Government has now afforded to this group, but it is unacceptable that these citizens were left in limbo for so long.
82.Vulnerable people appear to be especially at risk of being left out. Children in care are one such group, who may not have passports or other identifying documentation. Abigail Adieze, Head of the Families and Home Directorate at Waltham Forest Borough Council, told us that several of the young people she works with have no formal proofs of identity, and she had not therefore been able to progress their applications during the private beta pilot. Similarly, Marianne Lagrue from Coram Children’s Legal Centre said that the documents required by the scheme as proof of identity are generally those that only an adult would hold (such as bills or payslips), with documents for children (like school, medical or care records) not easy to access. Others may need to seek parental consent to obtain documentation, which could place them at risk in situations where there is or has been domestic abuse.
83.Similarly, many victims of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls (VAWG), may not have access to their records and documents if these are controlled by another person (such as an abusive current or ex-partner). Nicole Masri from the group Rights of Women, which supported vulnerable women in their applications during the pilot phases, gave the example of one young woman who was not able to obtain settled status because she was not applying at the same time as her parent, from whom she was estranged because of abuse. Another was ineligible because she left an abusive relationship before accruing five years of continuous residence. Ms Masri added that Rights of Women had asked the Government to accept a duty to undertake reasonable inquiries on behalf of some applicants where they cannot demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria on their own, but that “the Home Office has consistently not made any comment on whether it is willing to do that”.
84.In his inspection report on the Settlement Scheme, the ICIBI echoed this recommendation, as he emphasised that the Home Office needs to show that it “recognises and accepts that it remains responsible for ensuring the EU Settlement Scheme meets the needs of everyone who is eligible and this includes making ‘reasonable inquiries’ on behalf of those (for example, ‘looked after’ children) who find it difficult to prove their eligibility”.
85.In March 2019, the Home Office announced a number of changes to the application process for the Settlement Scheme. As well as stating that people will be able to use a wider range of documents to prove identity and nationality, some applicants will be able to apply using a paper form (rather than the online application process) when “approved by the SRC [Settlement Resolution Centre] on an individual basis in light of the exceptional circumstances of the case”. There will also be:
scope for the Secretary of State to accept alternative evidence of identity and nationality where the applicant is unable to provide the required document due to circumstances beyond their control or to compelling practical or compassionate reasons.
86.The Government must acknowledge the difficulties that will be experienced by many vulnerable groups when attempting to apply to the Settlement Scheme. A degree of understanding will be required so as not to disadvantage these individuals, together with a willingness by the Home Office to consider special circumstances and make exceptions to the process when circumstances dictate. Caseworkers should be trained in how to support and assist vulnerable groups.
87.We welcome the Home Office’s recent announcement that alternative evidence will be accepted as proof of identity and nationality, and that exceptional circumstances will be taken into consideration. However, the issue for vulnerable people is often not in proving their identity but in finding and accessing historical documents (such as bank statements or employment payslips) which may be required to demonstrate continuous residence. The willingness to accept alternative evidence also still places the onus on the applicant to find and provide documentation, potentially from a time of trauma or abuse. The Government must not place vulnerable people in danger by requiring them to approach an abusive or estranged partner or parent for access to their records. The Government should therefore commit to undertake reasonable inquiries on behalf of applicants in instances where they are unable to prove eligibility or qualification due to circumstances beyond their control.
88.Marianne Lagrue told us in evidence that “fundamentally it [the Settlement Scheme] is still a scheme that is designed with the lives of someone who is working in the UK in mind”. Such people would find it easy to provide proof of identity and continuous residence through payslips and tax records, and would be more likely to have access to the technology required for registration: indeed, we heard that these individuals found the application process “fairly straightforward”. However, for individuals in different circumstances, or who have any form of vulnerability, we were told that “things quickly spiral into being immensely complex”. Other witnesses agreed that the Government had chosen to “value certain people” and “offer more favourable provisions to some categories of individual”.
89.The ICIBI reported concerns from those involved in the second private beta (PB2) phase’s ‘vulnerability cohort’ that “the Home Office was significantly underestimating the practical challenges with the process, as well as other obstacles, that vulnerable applicants were likely to face, and that PB2 had done little to correct this. Underlying some of these concerns was a sense that the Home Office did not fully understand the nature and extent of the issues”. The Home Office told inspectors that it was “implementing a comprehensive vulnerability strategy, to ensure we deliver a scheme which is accessible, and which handles marginalised or at risk customers with sensitivity and flexibility, according to their needs”.
90.The issue of large numbers of people being at risk of missing out on access to the Settlement Scheme is exacerbated by the fact that the Home Office does not know how many people are eligible or should be applying. The Home Secretary told us that, because of freedom of movement, “We don’t know who they are. There is no way we could know who they are [ … ] I wish we did”. This is true even for particularly vulnerable cohorts, such as children in care: local authority data does not record nationality for children in care and is often incomplete. Marianne Lagrue said that “The onus is on the applicant to identify themselves”, and Colin Yeo told us that “We simply will not know how many people have not applied and the Home Office is not doing any work, as far as we know, despite being urged to, to monitor take-up of the scheme”.
91.We are very concerned by the fact that large numbers of EU citizens are at risk of being left out by the EU Settlement Scheme. We understand that, due to the functioning of free movement, the Government cannot be expected to know exactly how many people are eligible or should be applying to the Settlement Scheme. However, we believe that the Government needs to take additional action, beyond general awareness and publicity campaigns, to ensure that extra support is targeted towards children and vulnerable people to mitigate the risk of them being left out and potentially jeopardising their future in the UK.
93.The Government must work with as broad a range of public service providers and others as possible to enable them to provide reliable and acceptable evidence in support of settled status applicants who may only have a limited range of evidence available to prove eligibility.
94.Numerous technical difficulties have proven to be an issue for applicants during the pilot phases. Witnesses told us that the system regularly shut down, and the Home Office reported that a technical disruption during one of the pilots resulted in the service being temporarily suspended. Rights of Women told us that they were forced to suspend participation in the pilot because of all the technical problems they were experiencing (the organisation only supported 16 applications). Different naming conventions or use of accents or symbols (e.g. German umlauts or hyphens) meant that some names could not be matched or processed, and in the first pilot phase 4% of EU citizens found their data could not be matched against existing Government records (for example, because names on passports did not match those held by HMRC). If the same percentage of the estimated 3.8 million were to have a similar experience, this would scale up to over 150,000 of all eligible citizens.
95.Disappointingly, technical difficulties continued to be an issue for applicants after the Scheme publicly opened. Media reports highlighted that many people encountered error messages when attempting to use the online service and had to repeatedly call Home Office helplines for assistance. One man said that the experience left him on the verge of tears: “I was about to break down, I started to think it was a deliberate act to make me suffer. It has affected me mentally really badly”. The Settled Status Advice Service, a campaign group set up to help applicants with the process, said technical issues “blight the system” and are a “major issue” for EU nationals.
96.It has also been revealed that the Home Office accidentally shared the personal email addresses of hundreds of applicants to the Settlement Scheme in what the department called an “administrative error”. This happened when a Home Office employee failed to use the ‘blind CC’ option when contacting applicants who had experienced technical problems to ask them to resubmit their information. A Home Office spokesman said that the department had apologised personally to the applicants involved and had improved systems and procedures to stop this occurring again. This follows a similar Home Office data breach when launching the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
97.In response to our raising of the technical difficulties being experienced by applicants to the Scheme, the Home Secretary wrote to us that “In a programme of this scale some user interactions and difficulties requiring technical changes are to be expected”, but that less than a quarter of one per cent of applicants were known to be experiencing technical issues. He wrote that fixes for 90% of affected cases would be deployed by mid-May 2019, with the final 10% deployed by the end of the month.
98.The Home Secretary told the Justice Sub-Committee of the House of Lords Committee on the European Union that one of the reasons the Home Office focused on a largely electronic system was because “we have been learning lessons from the past”, highlighting Windrush (see Chapter 3). However, there will be many applicants who will find the online application process too difficult to navigate, and therefore struggle or fail to apply. This will include those with low levels of literacy, limited English, limited IT skills, and lack of access to IT hardware (such as suitable smart phones and adequate internet access). Sky News interviewed a Romanian man who has lived in the UK for six years, who struggled to use the app:
I don’t know how to use a computer, I don’t know how to put my personal data into an application, I didn’t even know what steps I had to take … I didn’t have any information. It was very stressful.
He was only able to complete the application with help from a local organisation, the Roma Support Group.
99.The Government has extended UKVI’s Assisted Digital service to support applicants who lack the access, skills or confidence to use the online application system. This provides support from advisers via telephone and in person, both at home and at centres across the country. During the second private pilot phase only 39 calls were made to the Assisted Digital service, and during the public beta testing phase only around 150 appointments for support were booked at the more than 200 centres established to provide Assisted Digital support.
100.During the second pilot phase, 84% of applicants did not need to submit any additional documentation to prove their UK residency. Giving evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the European Union’s Justice Sub-Committee on citizens’ rights after Brexit, Glyn Williams, the Home Office’s Director General of Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System Policy and Strategy Group, said that compared to the amount of documentation people previously had to send to the Home Office the fact that 84% of applicants did not need to send additional information “is a very big step forward for us and quite a breakthrough for the Home Office, if I may say so”. However, this 16% of applicants who needed to provide further evidence during the second pilot would potentially scale up to 600,000 citizens in the Scheme as a whole, and in the public beta test phase only 73% of applications did not need to provide further information.
101.Witnesses agreed that for most people application was “a fairly straightforward process”. However, this was not the case for vulnerable people. Nicole Masri said that the application process was a really resource intensive activity for an organisation like Rights of Women, let alone an individual without technological and personal support, and Marianne Lagrue reported that, while applications made by the Coram Children’s Legal Centre took 1.5–2 hours on average, those with documentary or technical challenges took upwards of 10 hours. She added that some applicants did not realise that the email they received from the Home Office was actually their final decision, as all documentation—and the guidance and the application process itself—is currently provided in English.
102.We understand why the Government has chosen to pursue a digital-based application process. However, as with the imposition of any new technological service, there will be teething problems, and many applicants will not feel comfortable or confident in using unfamiliar technology, especially for something so important. Given that both we and other Committees have drawn attention to concerns around the technical aspects of the Scheme, it is extremely disappointing that so many EU citizens experienced difficulties when the Scheme was launched. The Settlement Scheme has been open in private beta form since August 2018; this should have given ample time for sufficient technological systems to be devised and implemented.
104.We welcome the Home Office’s Assisted Digital service, which provides telephone and face to face support to applicants to complete the application form online. The Home Office must ensure that this service is adequately staffed so that it is available to all who need it, and also that applicants are adequately aware of this service, as take-up has so far been very low.
105.In April 2018 the then Home Secretary, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, said that the application process for EU nationals seeking to remain in the UK after Brexit would be “as easy as setting up an online account at LK Bennett”, and the current Home Secretary told us in May 2019 that the process “has been designed to be straight-forward and user-friendly for applicants”. However, numerous news and media reports have related testimonies from EU citizens who have encountered difficulties in using the app. These include:
Some even reported that, in January 2019, the app demanded six months’ worth of evidence from 2019. Several individuals resorted to submitting their documentation by post for manual confirmation. One article concluded that:
Too many people are being given the wrong status, too many are facing demands for extra evidence, and too many are unable to use the app in the first place.
106.Initially, and during the pilot phases, the app only worked on smartphones running a recent update of the Android operating system and was not accessible on Apple devices such as iPhones or iPads. In April 2018 a Home Office spokesperson said, “We’re speaking to Apple to try and get this resolved”. On 30 October 2018, the Immigration Minister told us that the process could be conducted, and saved, on Apple devices up to the point where the passport chip needed to be checked: the applicant would then have to switch to an Android device. She said:
it is Apple that will not release the upgrade that we need in order for it to function [ … ] It is accessible via any device, but the chip-checker has not been released by Apple. To try to blame that on the Home Office is very unfair of you.
107.In addition to this, many applicants have had difficulties in using the scanner function within the Android phone, on which the process relies to read biometric data in the passport chip, reporting that it can freeze the app for several days following a failed attempt. The app also did not initially work overseas, but the Government announced in March 2019 that citizens would be able to apply from outside the UK from 9 April 2019. Official advice from the Home Office for anyone having difficulty is currently to travel to one of the centres around the country that can perform document authentication (see below), or to use a friend’s device. Some universities and health sector employers involved in the pilot phases bought or made up-to-date Android devices available to their employees to enable them to complete an application.
108.In March 2019 the Immigration Minister sought to “put to bed the allegation that people will not be able to use their iPhones to apply”, and stated that individuals will be able to use any desktop, laptop or mobile device to make an application, or use a paper application form in some circumstances. An Apple version will still not be available for a number of months after the Scheme opens, however. Now that the Scheme is fully live use of the app is “entirely optional” as applicants are able to verify their identity by post or face to face at an application centre. There is also additional digital support, and a dedicated telephone advice and support service.
109.It should be considered an error of judgement that the Home Office has so far based a system as vital as the Settlement Scheme on technology which is not easily accessible to vast numbers of applicants. Accessing the Scheme has required applicants to rely on friends or family to lend them a device, or to spend hundreds of pounds buying a new smartphone themselves.
110.We therefore welcome the announcement by the Immigration Minister that citizens will be able to use a range of devices to make their application. We remain disappointed that an Apple version of the app is still not available. We call on the Government to work to expedite this process, as lack of iPhone and iPad accessibility will remain a barrier for a large number of applicants.
111.To assist individuals encountering difficulties in using the app or without a compatible mobile phone, the Government initially set up 13 document scanning centres across the country—in Bath, Belfast, Caerphilly, Edinburgh, Hackney, Hatfield, Hull, Lincoln, Sandwell, Southampton, Southwark, Stockton-on-Tees and Trafford—at which applicants could scan and upload supporting documentation to complete their application.
112.However, the3million calculated that on average EU citizens would have to do a 74-mile round trip to visit one of the centres, and that some would have to travel for hundreds of miles. Applicants travelling to one of these centres would then also have to pay £14 to use the service and would not be able to get advice on their application while there. The Home Office stated that the centres were for ID checking only and applicants with questions should contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre. The3million claimed that the 13 centres were “nothing more than a token gesture”.
113.The Home Office subsequently said that this guidance only applied to the test phase of the Settlement Scheme, and that other ways to apply would be available once the Scheme rolled out fully. As outlined in the Immigration Minister’s letter to us, there will be “at least 50” identity checking locations across the UK, and applicants will also be able to verify their identity by posting their identity documents to the Home Office.
114.The Government website currently lists 56 locations offering ID document scanning. However, applicants are not informed how much using these services may cost: the website says only that “You may be charged to use this service. The service provider you use will tell you how much you’ll need to pay”. It adds that some applicants may need to attend further appointments or may still need to send identification documents to the Home Office for an application to progress. Applicants will not be entitled to a refund in such a situation.
115.The difficulties experienced in attempting to navigate the application process have placed immense strain and stress on EU citizens. The Guardian reported that many are experiencing insomnia and panic attacks, profiling one woman who went to work in tears every morning after attempting to apply:
I tried everything but I get to a certain point, and on the screen there is just a wheel going round and round. I can’t make my application. I have tried 12 different PCs, my phone, another friend’s. None of these work.
It’s humiliating. To have to go through all this feels like a punch in the face. If it doesn’t work and I overnight become illegal, what’s going to happen?
This morning I just could not stop crying when I was at work. I can’t plan anything—my career, my home. It’s become unbearable. There isn’t a day I can push it away. You can’t stop thinking about it. That’s why I cry every morning on my way to work because I’m thinking, ‘What’s going to happen, what if this doesn’t work?’ This is my life.
116.We welcome the Government’s provision of additional locations to support EU citizens in making an application to the Settlement Scheme. However, we are disappointed that applicants are still charged for using these services, and that there does not appear to be a standard charge, meaning that some applicants may have to spend more than others to complete the same process. We call on the Government to scrap the fees currently charged to applicants using one of the ID document scanning centres and to reimburse local authority centres for any costs they may have incurred in providing these services for the Government.
117.Under the Settlement Scheme, settled status is open to citizens who have resided in the UK for at least six months in five consecutive years, with pre-settled status available to those who will not have reached that threshold by 31 December 2020 (or the date of departure in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit). During the online application process, individuals are offered the status to which they are entitled according to automatic look-ups against records held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If they believe they are entitled to a different status to the one which they are offered, applicants can submit additional documentary evidence (for example, employment records to demonstrate continuous residence) or apply for an administrative review of the decision.
118.The report on the first pilot phase stated that all applicants were granted the leave that they expected. This measure was absent from the report on the second pilot phase, and so we wrote to the Home Secretary asking for clarification on how many of the 8,106 applicants who received pre-settled status during the second pilot phase received the status they would have expected. On 27 February he replied that “Excluding the admin review cases [ … ] all cases granted pre-settled status were on the basis that they did not have five years’ continuous residence in the UK”. Citizens without five years’ continuous residence could only be eligible for pre-settled status.
119.During our evidence session on 27 February, we questioned the Home Secretary and the Permanent Secretary on these results as, given the difficulties and issues highlighted by many applicants and commentators in finding full and correct documentation and proving continuous residence, it was surprising to hear that not one single applicant in the second pilot phase was eligible for settled status but found themselves unable to prove it. Our concerns on this point were strengthened because the letter also stated that 14% of the applicants who were granted settled status were initially offered pre-settled status and had to submit additional information to obtain that to which they were entitled.
120.The Home Secretary appeared to be unaware of the content of the letter his department had sent to us that morning, but he expressed confidence in the detail provided:
This is what has come from my officials who are running the scheme, the people who run the scheme. I have absolute confidence in them and if this is what they are reporting as the results of the testing of the scheme.
121.The Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, acknowledged that “There will be cases exactly as you say where people are unable to get documentation, including … we are particularly concerned about domestic abuse situations for example”. He went on to explain that:
What is not included in the letter is information about the further help we have provided in order to help people establish either their pre-settled status or their settled status.
[ … ]
If the concern is that they may have it but have not proved it, what we need to show to you is the effort and the results of that effort that we have gone to.
122.The Home Secretary also expanded on this:
There may be other issues with the system where people do not quite have the proof or the information that might be required. That is why we set up a process with a task force and phone lines and so on. There will be more of these situations when the process is formally rolled out, because when you are dealing with three million people, there will be some difficult issues to deal with; not everyone is going to go as smoothly as you might want. In those situations, we will work with those people.
123.The Home Secretary further clarified the situation for applicants in this position in a letter subsequently sent to us in May. He stated that “applicants are successfully being granted the status they qualify for” because of the Home Office’s “flexible overall approach”. Caseworkers will accept a wide range of evidence, applicants can “rely on any evidence available to them, reflecting their personal circumstances”, and the Home Office will “exercise discretion in the applicant’s favour”. However, the Home Secretary still asserted that “The ‘correct’ immigration status is the status for which the applicant demonstrates that they qualify”.
124.The ICIBI recommended that the Home Office provide caseworkers and Settlement Resolution Centre staff with clear guidance about evidential flexibility in relation to applications to the Settlement Scheme, so that it is widely understood and applied consistently. This approach was outlined in the Government’s Statement of Intent in June 2018, but the ICIBI reported that some caseworkers have been incorrectly applying this guidance.
125.The Home Secretary sought to minimise fears surrounding the offering of a status other than that which was expected by the applicant by emphasising that those with pre-settled status can still end up with settled status (after accruing five years residence and meeting requirements). He also stated that applicants who are offered what they consider to be an ‘incorrect’ status are able to remedy this situation by applying again and providing additional evidence or by submitting an application for administrative review.
126.The administrative review process enables applicants to challenge the status granted to them under the Scheme. By 16 April 2019, 128 applications for administrative review had been received and processed by the Home Office, with a further 46 pending. 17 applications were rejected, but in 99 of the remaining 111 cases (89%) the Home Office’s original offer was overturned, giving the applicant settled status instead of pre-settled status after the applicant submitted additional evidence.
127.The Government’s Statement of Intent for the Settlement Scheme stated that citizens’ rights are to be monitored by a new Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA), created through primary legislation. British Future reported that, coming into operation from January 2021, the IMA will have the power to receive complaints from citizens and take appropriate action if it believes there has been a failure on the part of the authorities to implement the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. It will also, like the Equality and Human Rights Commission, have the power to hold formal inquiries and launch legal action if it believes that there have been systematic failures with the EU Settlement Scheme. Under the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the IMA will remain in place for at least eight years after the end of the transition period, when it may be abolished if the UK and EU agree that it is no longer required.
128.However, the Government has provided little public information on how the Independent Monitoring Authority is to be structured or function in practice. The3million said that it was concerned about this lack of detail, given that the draft Withdrawal Agreement said that the IMA should be operational by the end of the transition period. It is therefore unclear what safeguards there are to be within the Settlement Scheme process, what recourse EU citizens will have for failures within the Scheme, and how accountability will be ensured. It has also not been explained how citizens’ rights will be ensured in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, as the IMA would not be established in this event (as its purpose is to monitor the Citizens’ Rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement, which will not be in place). The ICIBI noted in his report that Settlement Scheme staff were not aware of how to recognise complaints or how to direct individuals who wished to make a complaint.
129.We welcome the changes the Home Office has implemented to give more support to EU citizens making an application to the Settlement Scheme and its intention to exercise discretion in the applicant’s favour. We hope that this approach will limit the number of cases in which an applicant receives a status under the Scheme which is not that which they expected.
130.However, we are concerned by the Home Office’s confident belief that all applicants are being granted the correct status. We would be highly surprised if it is the case that none of the thousands of people who have been offered pre-settled status under the Settlement Scheme so far are technically eligible for settled status but unable to prove it. As we have outlined throughout this report, there are many reasons why an applicant may not be able to provide sufficient evidence, despite the Home Office’s pledge of a flexible and understanding approach.
131.We are particularly disappointed by the Home Secretary’s assertion that “The ‘correct’ immigration status is the status for which the applicant demonstrates that they qualify”. This statement strikes us as callous, and rigid enforcement of this line would not be fair or just, as it would allow for the possibility of long-term EU residents of the UK—who, for whatever reason, are unable to evidence their eligibility for settled status—being granted a lesser status than that to which they are rightfully entitled.
132.We believe that the correct status for an EU citizen who has been legally resident in the UK for more than five years is settled status, regardless of whether they have complete documentary evidence to prove this fact. The implementation of a declaratory system, which automatically grants rights and status to individuals entitled to them, would be a fairer and more accurate way of attributing immigration status to EU citizens residing in the UK. We therefore repeat our recommendation that the Government amend the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill so as to provide for the automatic granting of settled or pre-settled status in the UK to anyone who would, under current Government proposals, be entitled to that status under the EU Settlement Scheme on the day on which the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union. The Settlement Scheme would function as currently proposed by the Government for people who arrive in the UK after this date.
133.There will be cases when an individual who is applying for documentary proof of their status will have a gap in their record for which, through no fault of their own, they are unable to provide evidence. The Home Secretary told us that the Home Office will offer a flexible approach, will exercise discretion in the applicant’s favour, and will look for reasons to grant status rather than to refuse. In cases where the balance of probability suggests entitlement to status but the evidential record is unable unequivocally to prove this, the Government should commit to exercise its discretion compassionately and confirm status to such individuals.
134.The Home Office should act on the recommendation of the ICIBI and ensure that all caseworkers and staff involved in processing or assisting with applications to the Settlement Scheme fully understand how the Government’s promise of flexibility and discretion in favour of the applicant is to be applied in practice. The approach of evidential flexibility, which we welcome, must be applied fairly and consistently.
135.We acknowledge that many EU citizens granted pre-settled status—correctly or incorrectly—will go on to qualify for settled status. However, this does not mitigate this issue. Applying for the Settlement Scheme is already a stressful process for many EU citizens as their rights and entitlement to remain in the country which is their home are conditional upon it. Forcing them into a further period of uncertainty until they are able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office their eligibility for long-term leave to remain is unfair. It may also leave them at a disadvantage in interactions with employers or landlords, who may show preference for the security of a settled status designation.
136.We are glad that the Home Office has provided applicants with the ability to challenge a decision they feel is incorrect. However, we remain concerned that there may be many EU citizens applying to the Settlement Scheme who, when offered pre-settled status against an expectation of settled status, may feel obliged to accept this incorrect decision, and fail to challenge it. This may be because they do not understand the administrative review process and are unaware of their ability to challenge an incorrect decision; because they feel unable to prove their eligibility or residence; or most troublingly because, given the legacy of Windrush and the fear of being left without status post-Brexit, they feel the need to accept any status offered to them by the Home Office.
137.The Government must provide information on how the Independent Monitoring Authority which is to oversee the EU Settlement Scheme will be structured, composed and resourced, and how it will function in practice.
138.The risk of applicants missing out on the status to which they may be entitled arises in part from the absence of any requirement in the application process for applicants to state when they became resident in the UK or for how long they have been continuously resident. Instead of asking applicants to provide these details, the process relies on automatic checks and references to DWP and HMRC data, based on the identity documentation provided by the applicant. Nicole Masri voiced concern over the extent of reliance on the automatic data-checking system:
The Government do not actually ask applicants how long they have been living here. They never at any stage in the application process ask when a person arrived or when their continuous residence commenced. The whole system is built around the automated checks.
139.In his letter of 1 May 2019, the Home Secretary said that the Home Office had made a conscious decision not to ask applicants when they became resident in the UK because “this is not information that is necessary in order to decide whether the applicant has been continuously resident in the UK for five years”. He added that requiring applicants to provide this information would inconvenience them, as they would have to find documentary records, and could cause “unnecessary concern”.
140.However, the Home Secretary also explained that the Home Office has made improvements to the application process in this regard. While applicants do not have to provide exact dates of arrival or the commencement of residence, they are now specifically asked to confirm that they have been continuously resident for more or less than five years. The public beta phase report added that the page in the application process which provides the applicant with the option to accept or not accept a grant of pre-settled status has been reformatted, to prevent situations in which an applicant may accept the offer of pre-settled status instead of uploading further evidence to support their claim for settled status.
141.Other agencies have also questioned the automated data checks. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) published a research paper in January 2019 making the case that the Home Office is subject to a number of legal duties related to the Settlement Scheme’s data checks, including:
ILPA emphasised the importance of proper oversight, safeguards and transparency when dealing with vulnerable populations and complex decisions such as are involved in the operation of the Settlement Scheme, as:
A wrong decision based in part or in whole on an automated system, in the field of immigration, may result in family separation or unlawful deportation.
It feared that, due to the low quality of some Government-held data, “the level of data matching errors is likely to be needlessly high”.
142.The Immigration Minister addressed these concerns during debate on the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill in March 2019. She pledged to publish the Memorandum of Understanding between the Home Office, HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions, along with further guidance on the operation of the automated checks, stating that the Home Office “will of course be completely transparent on how those checks work, as it is to everyone’s benefit for us to do so”. However, the Minister claimed that publication of the process employed by the automated checks would be unnecessary as such information is already set out in the Immigration Rules, and that provision of explanations to unsuccessful applicants would increase the risk of fraud and identity abuse. She stated that the Home Office aims to keep the process “simple and quick in providing results”.
143.We understand that in many cases it should not be necessary for applicants to provide dates and details for their residency in the UK, as automatic look-ups to DWP and HMRC data should confirm this information. But, for those individuals whose records are incorrect or incomplete, requiring this information to be submitted should highlight an issue before an incorrect status is offered.
144.We therefore welcome the changes recently made to the application process, which ask applicants specifically to confirm whether they have been resident in the UK for more than five years. We hope that this information acts as a fail-safe, highlighting cases in which further information or documentation may be required and taking the onus from the applicant to challenge an incorrect decision.
145.An additional, longer-term, issue highlighted by the House of Lords European Union’s Justice Sub-Committee is the fact that there does not appear to be a systematic process for moving people from pre-settled status to settled status when they become eligible. The onus is instead on the individual to reapply when their circumstances change and they are able to prove residence. Coram Children’s Legal Centre wrote in evidence to us that unless the Government provides people with information about when their residence is deemed to have begun, and when it should reach five years, people may leave applications for settled status for longer than is necessary. This could then cause a casework bottleneck in five years’ time when the limited leave to remain granted to early applicants is due to expire.
146.The Sub-Committee recommended that the Home Office should commit to notify individuals when they are likely to be eligible to move from pre-settled to settled status. Appearing before us in February 2019, Jill Rutter from British Future agreed: “it is incumbent on the Home Office to have information and processes that channel people through into settled status once they have the required residency”.
147.The Home Secretary told the House of Lords’ EU Justice Sub-Committee that the Home Office is currently looking into a system for reminding those who have been granted pre-settled status of the scope to apply in due course for settled status.
148.A related question arises over how the Home Office will know when and if an individual should lose their status under the Scheme. Under current proposals, individuals with settled status should be able to spend up to five years in a row outside the UK, and those with pre-settled status should be able to be absent for two years. Those that spend more than their respective quota of consecutive years outside of the UK are liable to lose their status.
149.However, the Home Office has not explained how it intends to monitor or ascertain absence from the UK for people who have already gained a status under the Scheme. The situation for individuals with pre-settled status is clearer, as any absence that renders them ineligible for continued residence will be apparent when they apply to convert to settled status, but for EU citizens with settled status this situation raises the prospect of them having to continuously reapply or re-prove their ongoing residency in the UK to the Government.
150.There is also an ambiguity in Home Office guidance which could affect EU citizens’ entitlement to settled or pre-settled status. Eligibility for status under the Scheme is determined by the applicant’s period of continuous residence in the UK. The official guidance document for Home Office staff states that continuous residence “generally means that the applicant has not been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in total (in a single period of absence or more than one) in any given 12-month period”. However, as highlighted by the3million, it is not clear what would constitute the relevant 12-month period, and whether this is calculated by calendar year, per 12-month segment of the applicant’s qualifying period, or on a rolling basis. Without clarity on this point, EU citizens could inadvertently invalidate their eligibility under the Scheme.
151.Individuals granted pre-settled status will be able to apply for settled status in the future once they have accrued—and are able to evidence—five years of continuous residence. However, it is unclear how this process will operate. The Government must clarify:
152.In order to minimise the risk of citizens forgetting or failing to apply we recommend that the Government take responsibility for formally notifying individuals with pre-settled status when they may be eligible to apply for settled status. This should be done at least three months before the date at which they will become eligible, to give individuals sufficient time to collect any evidence or documentation they may require. The notice should outline both the process the applicant needs to follow and what, if any, evidence they are required to provide.
153.The Home Office also needs to outline how it will determine that an individual should lose their settled status due to an absence of more than five years, and how it will make clear to those granted pre-settled status the conditions under which they may lose the right to apply for settled status later. It should also clarify how absences which may affect an individual’s entitlement to settled status are to be calculated—by calendar year, on a rolling 12-month basis, or in any chosen 12-month segment.
154.British Future has said that the Settlement Scheme constitutes “one of the largest tasks that the Home Office has ever had to undertake”, costing between £500 million and £600 million, and Colin Yeo called the Scheme “unprecedented” and “a huge experiment in technology and in human behaviour”. He said that “there is no comparator around the world where you have a legally resident population that has been forced to apply for a new status or else become illegal”. Giving evidence to us in February 2019 the Home Secretary agreed that it is “a huge and complex endeavour”. The Government expects up to 3.5 million people to apply to the scheme over the next three years, with Home Office officials expecting to process about 6,000 applications a day.
155.There has been considerable Government investment in the EU Settlement Scheme. The Government says that it has invested £175 million in the scheme, including spending nearly £50 million in the development of the digital registration system. However, in March 2019 the Institute for Government claimed that the decision to waive the fee for settled status will leave the Home Office needing to fund a gap of around £180 million in the cost of administering the Settlement Scheme. The ICIBI recommended that the Government clarify the consequences of the decision to remove the fee.
156.The Home Secretary told us that there will be 1,500 operational staff available to process applications, with a further 280 in the Settlement Resolution Centre to take enquiries from applicants. However, this figure is lower than earlier reports, which cited Home Office officials as suggesting that the Centre would employ 400 staff to deal with issues faced by applicants. In January the Home Secretary said that “we are confident that the system is designed for the number of applications we expect”.
157.The Government piloted the Settlement Scheme in two beta phases in 2018, initially with EU citizens working for 12 NHS trusts and students and staff from three Liverpool universities between August and October (which saw just over 1,000 applications), and then with a wider pool of citizens across the country working in higher education, health and social care, between November and December. This second pilot phase involved just under 30,000 applications. However, this is only half the number that the Immigration Minister told us she expected to go through the process. The Scheme was also open to a public beta test phase from 21 January 2019, and this saw more than 200,000 applications by 29 March 2019.
158.There were several positive results from the test phases. In the most recent public test phase, 79% of applicants who submitted feedback reported that the application was very or fairly easy (up from 77% in the second pilot phase), and most applicants received a decision within four days (on 7 March the Immigration Minister told us that 75% received a decision within three days, up from 69% in the second pilot phase). In addition, 95% of applicants were able to validate their identity using the smartphone app, with 75% completing the process within ten minutes. Online Government guidance, the Settlement Resolution Centre and staff at identity document scanning locations were found to be helpful by over 90% of respondents. Only 11% of applicants said that they would be critical of the application process, a decrease from 20% during the second beta phase.
159.However, there are several issues which give cause for concern over the Home Office’s ability and capacity to manage the number of applications that the full roll-out of the Settlement Scheme will involve. Independent research commissioned by the Home Office indicated that 35% of EU citizens could be expected to apply in the first three months of the full launch of the Scheme, and of the near 30,000 applications received during the second pilot phase, over a third were submitted in the last five days of the pilot’s operation. If this latter tendency is replicated now the Scheme is fully open, it could mean the Home Office having to handle hundreds of thousands of applications—which will require quick answers, so as to avoid people becoming unlawfully resident—in a very short period of time. On the first weekend of the Scheme going live the Home Office received over 50,000 applications.
160.When the report of the second pilot phase was published on 21 January 2019, 29,987 applications had been received and 27,211 decisions made. This gap represents almost 10% of all submissions. As of 15 February, there were still over 1,100 outstanding cases from the second pilot phase. Information provided by the Immigration Minister in March 2019 similarly stated that, of the more than 150,000 applications received since August 2018, 90% had been concluded by the end of February 2019, meaning that 10% of all submissions received by the Home Office during all the pilot phases were then yet to be resolved. The report on the public test phase claimed that, by 16 April 2019, 95% of all applications received had been concluded.
161.While the fact that the vast majority of cases are processed within a week is positive, the Home Office has not stated how long the remaining cases took to process, and we have heard that some applicants are left waiting an unacceptable length of time. Rights of Women (who supported 16 individuals in their applications) said that half of their vulnerable clients waited three weeks or more for a decision and that 25% were still awaiting a decision on 21 January (one month after the pilot closed), with some individuals waiting more than eight weeks. Rights of Women claimed that it did not recognise the experiences of its clients in the Home Office’s report on the second pilot phase.
162.The Home Office provides online information about how long applications to the Scheme are currently taking to be processed. As of 25 April 2019, applications were taking between five and nine days, where no additional information is required. However, the Home Secretary did not answer our specific question as to how long the current backlog of applications was.
163.It should also be noted that during the second pilot phase, which saw almost 30,000 applications, the Settlement Resolution Centre received over 15,000 calls and emails from applicants asking questions about their application. Colin Yeo pointed out that “This is the best informed and simplest group of people who have so far applied”, since most were employed people who followed the news and were aware of the scheme. Many of the participants who would be classed as having some form of vulnerability were supported by community and charitable groups. He questioned what would happen now that the Scheme is to be “scaled up massively”, as “the pilot has been very small and the results have not been all that encouraging”. British Future’s Jill Rutter voiced concern that difficult cases would be “parked” by the Home Office with pre-settled status, leaving people in “a kind of legal limbo”.
164.The system does already appear to be under strain. One applicant forced to call the Home Office for assistance reported that the “lines seem to be constantly busy”.
165.The Home Office’s report on the public beta testing phase, which saw 200,000 applications, revealed that the Centre handled 62,261 calls and 14,596 emails. The Immigration Minister told us in March 2019 that all were responded to within agreed service levels (calls answered within 30 seconds, emails responded to within five days).
166.In his report of the inspection of the Settlement Scheme during the second private beta phase, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration stated his belief that “compared with other areas of BICS [the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System] [ … ] the EU Settlement Scheme stands out as having been afforded the preparation time, resources and organisational priority to succeed”. However, he also stated that “It is questionable [ … ] whether the Scheme has been properly tested”. He noted that the objectives of the private beta phases were deliberately limited in their scope, and that the number of applications received during the private phases “fell well short” of the Home Office’s assumptions. Further, there were no attempts to investigate why this was the case. The ICIBI concluded that it is therefore unclear whether the private beta phases were “sufficient [ … ] to serve as robust tests of the relevant systems and processes”. Low workloads meant that the capacity of staff had not been fully tested (some were loaned to other Home Office departments, such was the lack of work during the pilot phases of the Scheme), and elements such as the document scanner location option and the postal route for applications could not be said to have been tested at scale.
167.The Home Secretary wrote to us that the Home Office will publish quarterly official statistics publications on the progress of the Settlement Scheme and the work of the Settlement Resolution Centre from August 2019, alongside the department’s quarterly Immigration and Transparency statistics.
168.Concern around the Home Office’s ability smoothly and successfully to manage the number of applications the Settlement Scheme will attract, and to handle the complexity of some of the cases, has been partly prompted by many people’s past experience in applying to the Home Office on immigration and citizenship related issues. The Home Office already handles around seven million passport applications and around three million visa applications a year.
169.The Home Office is already having to process a number of immigration and citizenship queries and applications which involve complex cases, many of which include issues with documentation or a lack of official records. The most recent update on the work of the Windrush Taskforce shows that 18% of cases took longer than two weeks (the Government’s target timeframe) to reach a decision. The Home Office’s migration transparency data, which shows the progress of applications made from within the UK since 2014, also shows that while the majority of “straightforward” cases were resolved within the Customer Service Standard, there were nonetheless hundreds of straightforward cases in a backlog which were not concluded within the service standard timescale (with 29% of cases in this backlog taking more than 12 months), and more than 20,000 “non-straightforward” workable cases which took more than six months. 11% (5,277 cases) took more than a year to resolve.
170.A report by the Institute for Government (IfG) on post-Brexit management of migration stated that “As things stand, the Home Office is not ready or able to meet the Brexit challenge on immigration”. It raised concerns over unrealistic targets and the lack of a clear strategy, the disconnect between what politicians and officials think happens in the system and what actually happens on the front line, and the fact that the Home Office is run on decades-old information technology systems. The IfG suggested that the Cabinet Secretary might wish to assess whether the Home Office is still the right place to locate immigration policy.
171.During his inspection of the Settlement Scheme the ICIBI noted that there were system-wide problems with the Home Office’s IT—staff were temporarily unable to send emails or save documents—which highlighted the Scheme’s dependency on the Home Office’s general IT infrastructure. In March 2019, following reporting by a consumer group on the requirement for UK citizens to renew their passports before the UK leaves the EU, the website of the Passport Office crashed after a surge of applications. The ICIBI also concluded that the Scheme’s customised IT system was not yet capable of producing the necessary management information and data.
172.Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, told us that the experience of interacting with the Home Office during the pilots had been “a positive one”, with good communication and responsiveness to comment, adding that this had been a “pleasant surprise”. Luke Piper agreed that the Home Office team behind the Scheme “have been very communicative [ … ] and very welcoming to speak to”. Nicole Masri also welcomed the invitation to stakeholders to have sustained conversations on behalf of vulnerable groups. In addition, the Institute for Government reported that the Home Office’s use of “user groups, trial stages, and a willingness to adjust and learn, are very positive improvements to usual practice”, the House of Lords European Union Committee wrote that it was impressed by the organisation and resourcing of the EU Settlement Resolution Centre, and by the positive ethos at the Centre, and the ICIBI praised Settlement Scheme staff, saying that interactions with applicants were “professional and engaging” and that “Without exception, they were enthusiastic about their work and morale was obviously high”. He added that it will be important to maintain staff morale and customer service levels when workloads become more challenging.
173.The Home Office made several changes to the application process following the results of the pilots and based on the experiences of applicants. These included updated communications and guidance material; increasing the size of file an applicant can upload in support of their application; allowing applicants to change their email address should a verification email from the Home Office be blocked; introducing technical safeguards against any disruption in the automated checks of HMRC or DWP data in the event of a system outage; and inserting a new screen within the application process to help applicants check whether they hold a valid permanent residence document.
174.Giving evidence to us on behalf of British Future, Jill Rutter stated that “it is definitely working in the right direction [ … ] there is a very welcome cultural change in the Home Office”. However, she added that “there are still things that are not being done right”. Abigail Adieze said that she did not believe the Home Office was listening to her concerns about the difficulties experienced by young people in care, and Dr Adrienne Yong reported that many citizens were reluctant to send away their passports for identity checks (instead of using the app) because of the lingering feelings of mistrust and a lack of faith in the Home Office.
175.Given the legacy of Windrush, the Home Office knows that it has much work to do to regain the trust and confidence of citizens when it comes to establishing and confirming their legal status in this country. Witnesses have so far been largely positive about their interactions with the Home Office during the pilot phases, and we welcome this. However, the Home Office has only had to deal with a very small cohort so far: now that the Settlement Scheme is fully open the department will be faced with over one hundred times more applications than it handled during the private pilot phases.
176.The concerns raised by the Institute for Government and the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, and the recent failure of the Passport Office website when faced with a surge of applications, do not give confidence as to the resilience of Home Office systems. In addition, if the ratio of one query for every two applications seen during the pilot phase were maintained throughout the duration of the Settlement Scheme, we would have serious concerns over the ability of the Home Office to handle and satisfactorily resolve every issue without increasing its staffing and technological capacity.
177.The Home Office must ensure that it has sufficient human and technological capacity to handle the workload of applications and inquiries that the Settlement Scheme will attract. This will require robust digital systems and the hiring of more caseworkers, with extra surge capacity for the inevitable rush both now at the start and towards the end of the Scheme. They must be adequately and appropriately trained, particularly on the issues likely to be experienced by vulnerable applicants, so that they are able to handle inquiries in a sensitive and timely manner. This is important to prevent a backlog of cases and further delay and uncertainty for EU citizens. Almost 10% of cases were outstanding a month after the close of the second pilot phase, and many vulnerable applicants waited many weeks for a decision. A repeat of this for the whole cohort of EU citizens would not be acceptable and would further damage public perceptions of and confidence in the Home Office.
178.The Home Office must ensure that its IT system is capable of producing comprehensive management information and data, as recommended by the ICIBI. Regular reports on how the Scheme is performing–including the number of applications, their outcomes, how long they are taking to process and resolve and details on applicant satisfaction, as well as lessons learned and proposed improvements–will be essential for building public confidence that the Scheme is working as intended for both EU citizens and the Home Office. We appreciate the reports which have been made available covering the private and public test phases and we believe that similar reports should be produced and published at regular intervals now that the Scheme is under way. We are pleased that the Government has committed to provide regular statistical updates.
85 British Future, Getting it right from the start: Securing the future for EU citizens in the UK, January 2019, pp18–31
86 British Future, Getting it right from the start: Securing the future for EU citizens in the UK, January 2019
87 Migration Observatory, ‘’, 12 April 2018
88 For further information on these groups see paragraph 80.
91 , 27 February 2019
92 , 20 March 2019
93 A Chen carer is a primary carer of a self-sufficient EEA national child (who is under the age of 18 and has sufficient resources to prevent them becoming a burden on the social assistance system). Ibrahim and Teixeira cases involve either the child of an EEA national worker/former worker where that child is in education in the UK or the primary carer of a child of an EEA national worker/former worker where that child is in education in the UK, and where requiring the primary carer to leave the UK would prevent the child from continuing their education in the UK.
94 A Zambrano carer is the non-EEA national primary carer of a British citizen who is residing in the UK, and who has a right to reside if their removal from the UK would require the British citizen child to leave the UK and the EU.
96 Home Affairs Committee, Sixth Special Report of Session 2017–19, , 25 May 2018, HC 1075, p12
97 HC Deb, 7 March 2019,
98 The Government appeared to recognise the unique issues vulnerable groups may face, and included some local authorities and third sector organisations which work with vulnerable groups in the second pilot phase of the Scheme.
99 ; The Coram Children’s Legal Centre added that some countries require the consent of both parents to obtain a passport or other nationality identification; [Marianne Lagrue]; Coram Children’s Legal Centre ()
100 ; Coram Children’s Legal Centre ()
102 During the pilot phases children under the age of 21 with a parent eligible for settled status were able to apply for settled status but only if they applied at the same time as their parent. This is no longer the case, but the Government’s website says that “You’ll probably get a decision more quickly if you apply at the same time or after your family member applies”; Gov.uk, ‘’
106 The Home Secretary informed us in May 2019 that to date approximately 650 paper application forms had been issued; , 14 May 2019
107 , 7 March 2019
109 [Dr Adrienne Yong]
110 [Marianne Lagrue]
111 [Nicole Masri, Dr Adrienne Yong]
113 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Q767
114 Coram Children’s Legal Centre ()
117 [Marianne Lagrue]
118 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 2 Report, January 2019
120 [Luke Piper]
121 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 1 Report, 31 October 2018
122 PoliticsHome, ‘’, 10 April 2019
123 BBC News, ‘’, 11 April 2019
124 BBC News, ‘’, 8 April 2019
125 , 14 May 2019
126 Oral evidence taken before the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union Justice Sub-Committee, , 22 January 2019, Q32
127 Sky News, ‘’, 21 January 2019
128 Gov.uk, ‘’, updated 8 April 2019; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 2 Report, January 2019, p10; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, pp9–10
129 Oral evidence taken before the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union Justice Sub-Committee, , 22 January 2019, Q31
130 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p7
131 [Dr Adrienne Yong]
134 ; The Home Secretary told us that key information, such as application guidance, will be provided in the other 23 official EU languages and in Icelandic, Norwegian and Welsh; , 1 May 2019; The Home Office had decided not to release guidance in other languages earlier as the guidance was constantly changing due to lessons learned during the pilot phases; Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme, May 2019, p29
135 The Guardian, ‘’, 23 April 2018
136 , 1 May 2019
137 Channel 4 News, ‘’, 21 January 2019; Metro, ‘’, 22 January 2019; LBC, ‘’, 21 January 2019; Politics.co.uk, ‘’, 6 February 2019
138 tweet, 6 February 2019; Politics.co.uk, ‘’, 6 February 2019
139 Politics.co.uk, ‘’, 6 February 2019
140 The Guardian, ‘’, 24 April 2018
141 Oral evidence taken on 30 October 2018, , HC 1674, Qq51–5
142 The Times, ‘’, 21 January 2019
143 HC Deb, 7 March 2019,
144 GOV.UK, ‘’; The Guardian, ‘’, 8 December 2018
145 ; The Guardian, ‘’, 8 December 2018
146 The report of the public test phase said that 987 devices from 92 manufacturers had successfully used the app; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p6
147 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, 5 March 2019, ; HC Deb, 7 March 2019,
148 Information provided by Home Office officials.
149 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, 5 March 2019,
150 Home Office, ‘’, 24 January 2019
151 Twitter thread, 24 January 2019
152 , 7 March 2019
153 Gov.uk, ‘’, 26 April 2019
154 The Guardian, ‘’, 27 January 2019
155 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 1 Report, 31 October 2018
156 Home Office ()
157 Home Office ()
158 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Q781
159 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Q786
160 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Qq787, 791
161 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Q802
162 , 1 May 2019
163 “A principle of evidential flexibility will apply, enabling caseworkers to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate, to minimise administrative burdens”; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Statement of Intent, 21 June 2018, p8
165 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p8
167 Until the Independent Monitoring Authority is set up, the implementation of the new scheme will be monitored by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, who will present a report on the EU Settlement Scheme early in 2019; British Future, Getting it right from the start: Securing the future for EU citizens in the UK, January 2019, p15
168 British Future, Getting it right from the start: Securing the future for EU citizens in the UK, January 2019, p15
173 , 1 May 2019
174 , 1 May 2019
175 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p9
176 Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, EU Settled Status Automated Data Checks—ILPA Research Piece, 30 January 2019
177 Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, 5 March 2019,
178 Coram Children’s Legal Centre ()
179 , 27 February 2019
181 , 20 March 2019; , 17 April 2019
182 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme public beta phase: EU citizens and their family members, 21 January 2019, p39
184 British Future, , January 2019, pp4, 6; An Impact Assessment signed by the Immigration Minister in July 2018 said that the Scheme is expected to cost the Home Office between £410 million and £460 million between 2018–19 and 2021–22; Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme, May 2019, p13
186 Oral evidence taken on 27 February 2019, , HC 434, Q805
187 Metro, ‘’, 22 January 2019
188 Sky News, ‘’, 21 January 2019
189 British Future, , January 2019, p5
190 Institute for Government, Managing migration after Brexit, March 2019, p28; The Impact Assessment signed by the Immigration Minister in July 2018 noted that the Scheme was expected to generate between £170 million and £190 million in revenue; Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme, May 2019, p13
192 , 1 May 2019; , 14 May 2019; The ICIBI reported that 1,537 staff were employed as Settlement Scheme caseworkers, with a further 266 in the Settlement Resolution Centre. The Government has confirmed that staff in the Centre work shift patterns of 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am-4.40pm at weekends; Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme, May 2019, p14; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p9
193 Metro, ‘’, 22 January 2019
194 Oral evidence taken before the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union Justice Sub-Committee, , 22 January 2019, Q33
195 Oral evidence taken on 30 October 2018, , HC 1674, Q49
196 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p3
197 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, pp4, 6; , 7 March 2019; Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 2 Report, January 2019, p6
199 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p13
200 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 2 Report, January 2019
201 Written evidence received from the Home Secretary outlined that of these cases, 90 were waiting for the applicant to submit their passport, 75 were awaiting further evidence of residence, and 65 were awaiting technical updates to the caseworking system or were subject to other clarifications. 900 cases were being held until the fee changes announced by the Prime Minister are formally implemented through statutory instruments, as the applicant had bypassed initial fee payment by erroneously claiming valid permanent residence status or indefinite leave to remain. If the Home Office were to process these cases before then they would need to charge a fee for the application to be valid; Home Office ()
202 HC Deb, 7 March 2019,
203 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p2
204 Twitter thread, 21 January 2019
205 Home Office, ‘’, updated 25 April 2019
206 , 14 May 2019
207 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme—Private Beta Testing Phase 2 Report, January 2019
210 PoliticsHome, ‘’, 10 April 2019
211 Home Office, EU Settlement Scheme: Public Beta Testing Phase Report, 2 May 2019, p9; , 7 March 2019
213 , 14 May 2019
215 , 19 March 2019
216 UK Visas and Immigration, , 29 November 2018, Table InC_05
218 Daily Mail, ‘’, 8 March 2019
224 , 27 February 2019
226 Home Office, ‘’, 21 January 2019
Published: 30 May 2019