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JUSTICE: the way forward for the EU settlement scheme


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Legal reform charity JUSTICE has published a report today from their EUSS working group that looks at the ongoing problems with the EU settlement scheme and makes 16 recommendations. The report commends the scheme as being largely successful and for processing a huge number of applications in a relatively short period of time. However the working group believes that the government is not properly facilitating the rights of all those EEA nationals who are entitled to them under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Issues include backlogs and delays, decision making that lacks clarity and consistency, with injustices hard or impossible to remedy following the removal of administrative review and the fact that invalidity decisions cannot be appealed. Those most likely to be affected are people least likely to be able to navigate their way out of it alone: older people, victims of trafficking and/or domestic violence, homeless people, children in care, people with literacy issues or language barriers, those who lack digital skills, as well as those with criminal records.


Recommendations include that the Home Office monitors compliance with the obligation to carry out reviews during the appeals process (a problem certainly not limited to EUSS appeals) and that it also monitors the number of EUSS appeals where costs are ordered against it. The scope of legal aid should be expanded to include EUSS appeals, or else EUSS grant funding should be extended to include appeals.

Administrative reviews should be reintroduced, and appeals allowed against invalidity decisions. They also recommend that communication with people who have pending applications is improved. There are also interesting recommendations on further applications and calculation of absences. Many of these recommendations could be usefully applied throughout the immigration and asylum system.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.