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A Home Office blunder meant some of the 141,000 people refused EU Settled Status received cash – despite being ineligible.
After telling the applicants they had been unsuccessful officials did not then update their visas database, it is alleged.
This meant those applications were still considered “pending” and the EU citizens were able to claim benefits.
A watchdog warned some of the migrants were mistakenly paid for months. The Home Office is now going to try to recover the money.
The Independent Monitoring Authority, a body set to protect the rights of EU citizens, urged the Home Office to explain how “erroneous statuses” stayed in the department’s system for months and it expressed fears the EU Settlement Scheme was not fit for purpose.
It said: “The status error raises grave concerns regarding both the validity and integrity of the digital system.
“The accuracy of the digital document provided to citizens is fundamental.”
But the Home Office said: “The online digital status for some EU Settlement Scheme applicants who were refused status has been updated in line with the decision taken on their application.
“These had already been communicated to the individuals concerned.”
“We are working across government and with the EU and member states to understand any further implications and to ensure the situation is managed quickly and pragmatically.”
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