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Research project

The EU Settlement Status (EUSS) and the Challenges of Digital Inclusiveness

Project overview

The EU settlement scheme (EUSS) is a UK immigration scheme aimed at providing EU nationals living in the UK with residency rights and all the rights they had prior to the UK’s exit from the EU. Eligible EU nationals need to apply to secure their status by 1 July 2021. The actual proof of having being granted the settled status as part of the EUSS is a digital-only proof. The EUSS represents a new model of immigration administrative justice which relies heavily on automation and technology (Tomlinson 2019).

However, the EUSS has a number of design and operationalisation problems that impinge on the rights of EU nationals. First, most of the vulnerable EU nationals living in the UK are not aware of the scheme. A key criticism has been levelled at the expected performance of the scheme from July 2021 onwards, when the digital-only status will be the main means of proving EU nationals’ legal status in the UK. The lack of a physical document makes the scheme harder to understand for some EU nationals, and it might increase the risk of discrimination against them.

The EUSS represents an acceleration of an existing trend in the UK towards quick, digitally-based administrative justice at the expense of important safeguards, which, in the longer-term, will lead to greater divergence in individual experiences of administrative justice within the context of immigration (Tomlinson 2019), and the broader ‘hostile environment’.

The focus of this project will be to examine the extent to which the design and operationalisation of the EUSS is digitally inclusive of all EU nationals.


Lead researcher

Dr Ingi Iusmen

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • children's rights
  • child migration
  • public policy
Connect with Ingi
Other researchers

Dr Julie Vullnetari

Associate Dean EDI
Connect with Julie

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs