The Government has published its report on the second private test phase of the EU Settlement Scheme. The results show that out of the 90.7% decided cases, no cases were refused.
The Government says that it has used the data from the 29,987 applications received over the 51 days of this test phase to improve the overall user experience.
Whilst the importance of this data cannot be ignored, it is important to note that this test phase was private to a select set of individuals and cannot be extrapolated for all the 3.5 million resident EU citizens and their families. However, some of the data will be relevant to understand the government’s approach in these cases:
- This test phase has resulted in 70% of the decided cases to receive settled status and the remaining 30% received pre-settled status.
- 69% of the cases were decided within 3 working days and 81% processed within a week.
- The majority cases awaiting a decision were because they were incomplete or were awaiting further evidence.
- All of the 1053 cases from the first private testing have now been granted.
- The EU Exit app (available only for Android) worked very well but continues to show issues. The Home Office has set up ID scanner locations providing access to an Android phone. This is also supplemented with the Assisted Digital service to support those who do not have appropriate access, skills or confidence to access technology.
- Where the applicant had to send in their passport, this checked and sent back within 24 hours.
- 84% of applicants were able to rely on automated checks to prove UK residence.
- A significant number (almost 1000) of applicants mistakenly believed that they had Permanent Residence (PR).
- Errors in decision making remain with 10 out of the 11 processed administrative review applications resulting in reversal of decisions.
- Email validation continued to face issues with emails being sent to the junk folder or blocked by employment email addresses.
- The set-up of the Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC) which received over 15000 calls in emails in this period. The SRC was operational 7 days a week and for extended hours during weekdays (8am to 8pm). A dedicated telephone line was also set up for vulnerable citizens and those with complex needs.
A key take-away from this report is the strive to provide a better customer experience for EU citizens with a focus on engaging with them. However, this phase was again limited to a specific specialist sector, healthcare, employees of which are more likely to have updated national insurance records and other supporting documents.
The first public test phase which opened on 21 January 2019 will provide the closest indicator of how the Settlement Scheme is likely to perform once it fully opens on 30 March 2019.