An investigation has been launched into allegations of delays by the Home Office in providing EU citizens with the documents needed to work and access basic services in the UK after Brexit.
The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) – the watchdog set up to watch over the rights of EU citizens in Britain – said it had opened the investigation after receiving a “number of complaints” from people who were left waiting for documents after applying for the EU settlement scheme. (EUS).
Candidates are supposed to receive a certificate “immediately” which serves as proof of their candidacy and proof of their rights so that they can work, rent or access benefits while the Home Office considers their application for leave to work. living in the UK now freedom of movement with Europe has ended.
Since last year, we have received numerous reports of people losing their jobs, housing, access to health care, etc.
The investigation will seek to establish whether the department has “met its obligation” to provide application certificates immediately and assess whether any incidents could constitute a breach of the Withdrawal Agreement as well as examine the impact on those who have been delayed.
The IMA, which has the power to take legal action against the government, is expected to interview officials and review policies and processes adopted by the Home Office as part of the investigation.
Chief executive Kathryn Chamberlain said the watchdog recognized ‘the potential impact this important issue could have on people’s lives and their rights’ but warned the investigation ‘will not lead to results. overnight,” as she urged people to provide information by August 8.
Campaign group the3million said it had been warning about the “problem with serious implications” for some time.
In a statement on Twitter, the group said: “Since last year we have received numerous reports of people losing their jobs, housing, access to health care, etc.
“Proof of your candidacy is essential for living in the UK. This is so important that the Withdrawal Agreement requires them to be issued immediately once you submit your request. Despite this, the UK is slow to issue certificates, which causes so many problems for people.
The Home Office said it would work with the IMA on the investigation and review its report when completed.
A spokeswoman added: “The EU settlement program has been a resounding success, with more than 5.8 million status grants.
“We have been working as quickly as possible to ensure that those with valid claims receive their claim certificate which they can rely on to demonstrate their rights.”