Three reports on the EU settlement scheme were published today. In addition, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has called for further evidence of how the scheme is working - deadline is 31 May.
The Home Office has provided an account of how many applications have been processed so far, and how applicants' feedback on their experiences during the test phases has been used to improve the current system.There have been no refusals so far and most administrative review applications against a decision to grant pre-settled, rather than settled, status were successful. Apparently, the application system has been changed to make it clearer that applicants can submit more evidence straight away if they are not happy with a pre-settled status decision, to avoid the need for an administrative review application. Applicants who submit evidence as part of an administrative review application which they did not provide as part of the original application will not have their administrative review application fee refunded, so it is important to provide all relevant evidence before a decision is made. The Home Office will be publishing regular statistics on applications made under the scheme.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has also published a report on the trial phases of the scheme. Its focus is on governance, staffing, learning from the testing stages and communication and it expresses some concern about how thoroughly the scheme was tested before it opened to all applicants at the end of March. The Home Office has accepted all seven of the ICIBI's recommendations. They include questions about the impact of the removal of the application fee and the resources needed for the scheme on other Home Office immigration teams, the use of information technology to provide not only statistics but also more detailed information, and training and guidance for staff.