The EU Settlement Scheme statistics for February 2020 are out. They show 300 refusals. We’re told by the Home Office that the increase is mainly due to refusals for eligibility, not over criminality.
The two core reasons, the Home Office says, for the jump in refusals are:
- Failing to provide eligibility evidence, either at the application stage or in reply to requests from the Home Office Caseworkers.
- Non-EEA/Swiss family members failing to evidence their relationship to the EEA/Swiss sponsor. This could include failing to provide a marriage certificate or not possessing the relevant document as a dependent relative.
Officials say that they made every attempt to obtain the necessary evidence before refusing applications, and that decisions to refuse were not taken lightly and signed off at a high level.
These statistics will cause concern and there remain a lot of questions, but we should not panic (yet). The number of refusals remain low overall — 300 refusals to almost 3,000,000 grants to date. Those refused can always re-apply before the deadline.
The Home Office should contact all applicants for further information to resolve issues before it reaches the decision stage. It says that many of those refused in February had simply stopped responding. We hope the department takes into account the COVID-19 advice gap when deciding how long to keep cases open for.