UK body polls EU citizens on life after Brexit in UK and Gibraltar
The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements [IMA] has launched an online survey seeking the views of European nationals to understand their level of concern about living in the UK and Gibraltar after Brexit.
The IMA is an independent authority set up in the UK to monitor public bodies to make sure they are upholding the rights of citizens from the EU and EEA EFTA states Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland.
It can also receive complaints and has powers to launch inquiries and take legal action.
The survey is the first launched by the IMA and marks its first month in operation.
It asks about life after Brexit including awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme and confidence that public bodies will uphold rights and ensure equal treatment.
It also tests initial awareness of the IMA to help it ensure EU citizens can access its services.
The IMA will work closely with advocate organisations including the 3million, an organisation that represents EU citizens in the UK, as well as with the Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom in order to promote the survey and ensure it reaches as many EU nationals as possible.
“I want to hear from as many people as possible,” said Dr Kathryn Chamberlain, the IMA’s interim CEO.
“Their responses, along with the complaints we receive, help us to build a bigger picture of the issues facing EU citizens.”
“This enables us to identify where we need to work with public bodies to ensure they are upholding rights.”
“This survey is part of a range of intelligence-gathering exercises we are carrying out to protect citizens’ rights.”
Maike Bohn, co-founder of the3million, said: “We are receiving increasing reports that EU citizens and their families are having difficulty acquiring and proving the rights they are entitled to.”
“As problems are escalating, we welcome the timely establishment of this independent body as agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement.”
“The IMA was set up to guard our rights and to hold the government to account and we look forward to seeing the results of this survey.”
The survey, which is aimed mainly at EU citizens living in the UK and Gibraltar, launched on the 1 February.
It takes around 5-10 minutes to complete and does not request any personally identifiable information.
It can be accessed here: https://survey.ima-citizensrights.org.uk/323389
The IMA is headquartered in Wales and was established to monitor the UK’s application of the citizens’ rights parts of the Agreements and identify any breaches.
For example, it will be able to identify any issues through complaints from the public, through considering draft legislation published by the Government, or through other routes, which could include working with regulators or citizens’ rights groups to identify issues.
The IMA will exercise its powers of inquiry to hold public authorities to account, with a particular focus on instances where there have been general or systemic failings in the implementation of the citizens’ rights agreements.
If such a failure is identified, the IMA will set out to the relevant authority its concerns over the way it has interpreted and applied the rules.
The IMA does not replace existing avenues of redress and EU citizens will continue to have recourse to all existing routes of complaint and appeal that exist under UK law, including the many authorities, tribunals and ombudsmen that currently enforce the rights of citizens in the UK.
The IMA will be independent, with its own legal personality separate from the UK Government.
As with other independent authorities such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office, it reports to a UK minister and is sponsored by a government department, in this case the Ministry of Justice.
This structural arrangement will maintain its independence while allowing the UK Government and Parliament to understand how it is using its resources, and ensure public money is used effectively.
The UK Government has no role in the day-to-day running of the IMA or the decisions it makes on complaints or investigations.