Home Office sued by watchdog

The Home Office is being sued by a watchdog that was set up to protect the rights of European Union citizens post Brexit. The statutory body says that the step is necessary to provide clarity to those affected by the withdrawal agreement signed in 2020.

According to the Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA), around 5.6 million EU citizens blanket approval to settled status, to live and work in the UK indefinitely. Less than half the number of citizens in the UK have applied for and been given perpetual status, with the remainder yet to formally apply to ratify their indefinite right to remain in the UK.

The decision to sue has come about because the Home Office has decreed that anyone who does not apply before their settled status expires, can be deported back to their home country. This the IMA says is illegal and is contrary to what was agreed and signed up to in the withdrawal agreement.

There is concern that many will find themselves potentially facing deportation having failed to submit the required documentation. Many of these people will however not necessarily be in a position to do so, they may old, infirm, vulnerable of children that are unable to submit the application themselves.

The watchdog’s chair, Catherine Chamberlain says “in taking legal action now we can provide clarity for those citizens with pre-settled status, of which there were 2.5 million as of 30 November 2021”

The IMA believe that the withdrawal agreement signed in 2020 provides lifetime rights to those citizens living in the UK at the time of the withdrawal, and therefore any blanket policy that removes this right is illegal.

Responding to the news that Home office sued by watchdog, a Home Office spokesperson said “we take citizens’ rights obligations very seriously and have an implement of the arrangements we agreed and withdraw agreement in good faith we do not comment on legal proceedings.”

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]