The Home Office is being taken to court by a government-sponsored Brexit watchdog over the “unlawful” treatment of 2.5 million EU citizens in the UK.
The High Court has confirmed that the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA), designed to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK, has been granted permission to proceed with a judicial review claim against the department.
The IMA considers that the Home Office’s position that citizens who fail to apply for settled status before the expiry of their pre-settled status automatically lose their rights is unlawful.
Under the EU settlement scheme, which EU citizens were required to apply for in order to obtain post-Brexit immigration status, applicants who have lived in Britain for less than five years are granted pre-settled status, which expires after five years.
The total number of individuals granted pre-settled status up to 31 May 2021 is estimated to be 2.6 million.
Before their pre-settled status expires, they are required to apply for settled status or re-apply for pre-settled status. If they do not apply in time, they will automatically lose rights to work, access housing, education and claim benefits and could be liable for deportation.
An IMA spokesperson said: “We welcome the decision of the court to allow our case to be heard. This is an important milestone as we hope to provide clarity and certainty for the millions of citizens with pre-settled status.
“In the meantime, we continue to encourage citizens experiencing difficulties in exercising their rights to make us aware of this via our online portal.”