Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement aims to protect the rights of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom. Pursuant to this Agreement, as well as agreements reached with EEA countries and Switzerland, the UK has introduced the EU Settlement Scheme, which enables EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to apply for a special immigration status that allows them to remain in the UK after Brexit.
Since the scheme was opened for applications, numerous issues have been reported (examples can be found here, here, and here) and extensive reports highlighting problems have been produced by the3million and the University of York’s EU Rights and Brexit Hub among others.
In view of these problems, the EU Rights Clinic is currently conducting a survey (which can be found here) on the EU Settlement Scheme and its application to date. The aim of this survey is to obtain data on applicants’ experiences with the scheme, which may then be used to file official complaints with theIndependent Monitoring Authorityand theEU institutions.
Possible issues include, but are not limited to:
- Technical issues, such as the application not being available on specific phone operating software, problems scanning the ID documents or non-biometric passports, problems with accessing the website, problems in proving presence in the UK, etc.
- Covid-19-related issues, especially those caused by the various lockdown phases and the restrictions on international travel which may have impacted on the ability of EU citizens to return to the UK.
- Issues caused by the use of a “digital status” and the lack of a physical residence card, which makes it difficult for EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals to prove their status in the UK .
If you have applied, or intend to apply, or are not yet sure about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, we would like to hear your views and experiences. If you are an adviser or legal representative, we would also welcome you sharing the details of any problems your clients may have encountered when applying for EU settled or pre-settled status.
We would greatly appreciate you taking the time to participate in this survey. Your experience will contribute to our research into the larger picture of how successfully the rights of EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals have been protected post-Brexit.
Any data obtained through the survey will be treated confidentially, and no personal information will be mentioned in any formal complaint. All results obtained through this survey will be presented in an anonymous fashion.
For further information on the survey, and how to participate in the survey itself, please follow this link: https://kent.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/euss-survey. If you have any questions or concerns about answering the survey or the survey itself, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org