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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Asking for EU settled status for refugees / non-EU nationals

ZoeHBF
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Welfare and Housing, Helen Bamber Foundation (London)

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Joined: 14 May 2017

Hello - I’m not sure if others have seen this, but presume someone must have; a fair number of our clients in recent weeks (mainly Albanian nationals with refugee status) keep being asked by Universal Credit (via journal messages, to-do list items and phone calls) to provide evidence of their settled or pre-settled status. Obviously these clients are not nationals of an EU country, and for the most part also have refugee status. I’ve copied a selection of the messages he’s been sent below, including threat of deductions if the client doesn’t attend an appt to verify his status, which he physically can’t because he’s not an EU national and has refugee status! The to-do list item even says if you have ILR or citizenship (which he doesn’t, but it’s the closest fit), to leave a message on his journal, which I’ve done several times, and they’re still on at him to report a status he can’t and shouldn’t try to apply for! Any advice on what to do?


“Hi
Settled or Pre-settled status EUSSJM
You must tell us your immigration status to continue getting Universal Credit  
You have an outstanding ‘Tell us you that you’ve got settled or pre-settled status’ to-do on your Universal Credit account. “

To continue to get Universal Credit you must either:
• complete this to-do
• tell us in your journal why you do not need to complete the to-do, for example, if you have a different immigration status

This is because to get Universal Credit you must have an immigration status that gives you the right to claim benefits in the UK.  We do not have a record of your immigration status for Universal Credit.


“Further to our conversation today please complete the “Tell us that you’ve got Settled or Pre settled status” to do outstanding on your account. EUSSF2F”

“Report a change
Report your EU Settlement Scheme status
We do not have evidence of your EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status. This could be because you:

have got your status, but not reported it
have not applied to the EUSS
applied to the EUSS but not got your status yet
have indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship
Find out about the EU Settlement Scheme
If you’ve got your status
If you’ve got your status, you must report it.

If you’ve not applied
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family usually also need settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to get Universal Credit.

To apply, copy and paste this link:

http://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

If you’ve applied, but not got your status yet
When you get your EUSS status, report a change of circumstances in your Universal Credit account

If you have indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship
If you’ve not applied because you have indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship, tell us in a journal message.”

ZoeHBF
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Welfare and Housing, Helen Bamber Foundation (London)

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Total Posts: 34

Joined: 14 May 2017

My client has now received this notification on his journal, that his payments will be SUSPENDED if he doesn’t report his immigration status, which we have done so many times - but he can’t physically report an immigration status he cannot and should not apply for as a non-EU national and a refugee! Any thoughts?! PAP?!?!?

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Elliot Kent
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It sounds rather like something is going badly wrong at your jobcentre. Perhaps somebody thinks that Albania is in the EU?

At any rate, I don’t think that a threat of JR would be completely uncalled for - but it might be the sort of thing which can be more effectively raised with your local partnership manager.

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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Well, hang on a minute.

First, these are the standard final reminder letters/messages that we were expecting just about now in any case where DWP thinks the claimant might be a candidate for settled status.  Inevitably they are probably going to contact more people than they need to depending exactly how they have run the query to identify those whom they wish to contact.  Arguably it’s better to contact some people to whom the letter/message doesn’t apply than to miss any to whom it does.  DWP has been saying for a few months now that they will be doing this at the end of September.  It might not be anything to worry about - he’s just caught by a general trawl.  Of course the worry is that the general trawl will lead to his payments being suspended automatically without any human intervention to prevent that from happening so you really want some acknowledgement before mid-October that his journal replies have been received and understood.

Second, you say his immigration status has been reported, but if that entails simply stating on the journal that he is a refugee, is that enough?  Do they have an image of a document proving his status?  The word “refugee” on its own doesn’t completely satisfy the immigration status test, what they need to see is the card/sticker showing five years’ limited leave without any restriction on claiming public funds (I assume that’s what he has).

It’s interesting that the suggested alternatives in the standard text do not include limited leave with access to public funds, which is what recently accepted refugees usually have, and this perhaps could confuse a member of UC staff who finds all this right to reside/leave to remain stuff bewildering.

ZoeHBF
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Welfare and Housing, Helen Bamber Foundation (London)

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In terms of stating he is a refugee and an Albanian national, they’ve asked for this to be written on the journal but not asked for any more information/proof or provided an upload link. When he first claimed UC last year when he was first granted refugee status, he attended a HRT appointment where they were shown his BRP which clearly states that he five years leave as a refugee with no NRPF condition applied, so the DWP/UC have had sight of this actual document in the past. He also took and showed his BRP to a face to face meeting at the JobCentre two weeks ago, and he was still asked to provide his EUSS status immediately after attending that appointment.

It’s just strange as I work exclusively with non-British or non-EU nationals (all people who have claimed asylum in the past) and only our Albanian clients have been chased about their EUSS status, but I appreciate there may be a more general trawl…

Anyway, I’ve chased with a partnership manager and the JobCentre are looking into it urgently apparently, but am a bit concerned that a general trawl which culminates in threat of suspension of payment when someone complies with what has been asked but cannot prove something that isn’t applicable is not being run very well!