The Home Office is “managing relatively comfortably” with the millions of European residents applying for post-Brexit settled status, a long-awaited review has found.
The department finally published the results today of an inspection of the EU Settlement Scheme by David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.
A previous review of the scheme’s pilot phase was largely positive. The new inspection found that “the Home Office has maintained the levels of energy and commitment required to make the scheme a success”.
The report contains nine recommendations on various issues, including:
- the ancillary costs of making an application
- messaging about timescales for decisions
- reassurance that the impacts of the EUSS have been fully considered, in particular for vulnerable and hard-to-reach individuals and groups
- foreign language support for applicants with limited English
- quality assurance, including better data capture and analysis regarding complaints
- staff training
- clarification of what “reasonable enquiries” the Home Office will make (of other government departments) on behalf of individuals where they have difficulty in proving their entitlement to apply
The inspections largely took place between March and June 2019. The report was completed in September 2019, and the Home Office sat on it until today. Mr Bolt believes, however, that “the bulk of my findings and recommendations remain current”.
We’ll have more detailed analysis of what the report tells us about the Settlement Scheme tomorrow.