Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Home Office breaches Withdrawal Agreement: delayed Certificate of Applications in EU Settlement Scheme


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The Independent Monitoring Authority has released a report following an inquiry into the delays in issuing Certificates of Applications to EU Settlement Scheme applicants. The report confirms the government’s obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and evidences where and why delays are occurring. It found that the Home Office failed to issue certificates in a timely manner to a “significant number” of the 1.73 million cases that required more involvement from a caseworker

Those who applied to the EU Settlement Scheme should receive a Certificate of Application immediately, whilst they are awaiting a decision on their application. This enables them to evidence their right to work, rent, and access benefits in the interim period. The inquiry was launched to establish whether the Home Office had fulfilled its obligations to issue a Certificate of Application immediately, following a number of complaints of people experiencing delays. Not issuing a Certificate of Application immediately may put the government in breach of its obligations under Articles 17(1) and 18(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement. 

The report found that in June 2022 the Home Office still did not have enough caseworkers to assist in cases where digital applications required manual intervention to display a certificate immediately. The report also confirms that many caseworkers that are available do not have sufficient training, which contributed to delays. Delays were also evident in paper applications as these require more involvement from a caseworker. 

In June 2021, 20 digital applications were made in relation to children. 11 of these “dropped out” of the automated system and required a caseworker to review them. For these 11, there was a delay of between 46 and 107 days before a casework review took place and a certificate was issued. Had the process remained digital and automatic, the certificate would have been issued on the same day that the application was submitted. 

The Home Office does not routinely collate or publish statistics in relation to certificates. Without this data it is difficult to see how the Home Office can accurately assess to what extent it is issuing certificates immediately, and therefore to what extent it is fulfilling its obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement. It also means the Home Office cannot make informed decisions on resourcing and deployment in order to remedy any issues. 

Smooth and swift processing of applications is important. Delaying issuing a Certificate of Application in particular puts an individual at risk of because they will not be able to authoritatively prove they have a pending application and are entitled to protection, benefits and rights in the UK. The Independent Monitoring Authority has requested that the Home Office issue certificates within five working days moving forward.

Relevant articles chosen for you