Home Office Faces Legal Challenge Over Post-Brexit EU Citizens’ Rights

UK Won't Replace Retained EU Laws By End Of 2023


The UK Home Office is facing legal action brought by a statutory body established to oversee the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.

The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) has made an application to the High Court to challenge the decision by the Home Office to take away the rights of EU nationals who had been in the UK for less than 5 years prior to Brexit and who had not applied in time for permanent residency status.

Under the EU Settlement Scheme rules, EU citizens who failed to make their application before the deadline are considered to have unlawful status in the UK and risk losing their permission to live, work, rent and access public services in the UK. They could also face deportation.

The IMA argues that the rules are in breach of the Brexit withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, which safeguarded the rights of EU citizens who were in the UK before the country left the European Union.

The High Court has now allowed the Judicial Review to proceed. Mr Justice Saini said the IMA’s “case is plainly arguable”, and added: “There is also a real issue as to the potential application of EU law in the interpretation of the WA.”

He also said the case was of significant public interest given the large number of people with “pre-settled status,” who are required to apply for the permanent “settled status” from the Home Office before their pre-settled status expires at the end of five years in the country.

The judge said: “Resolution of these issues is a matter of public interest given the potentially large numbers of those with pre-settled status (2.4 million people). The claim should be resolved well before any such individual is exposed to potential risks of a failure to apply for settled status. That date is, I understand, the start of 2023.” This date marks five years after the pilot launch of the settled status programme back in December 2018.

Advocacy groups including The3million have expressed concerns that many EU citizens with pre-settled status will fail the Home Office test and face deportation.

Those of the 2.5 million individuals with pre-settled status who fail to apply for settled status on time will forfeit all of their rights to education, healthcare, benefits, work, and access to the NHS, according to Home Office regulations.


Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

lawble newsletter sign up

Subscribe to our newsletter

Filled with practical insights, news and trends, you can stay informed and be inspired to take your business forward with energy and confidence.