The Independent Monitoring Authority for Citizens' Rights Agreements (IMA) was created by the British Ministry of Justice to oversee and enforce the rights of EU and country as EEA / EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) citizens within the Brexit agreement.
At stake are labour rights in the United Kingdom and the territory of Gibraltar, recognition of professional qualifications, access to housing, healthcare, education and social support, as guaranteed to British citizens residing in EU countries.
“We are very aware of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on what people need to do and demonstrate in order to have the right and access to services. The pandemic had an impact on travel and this may have affected the ability of individuals to be present in the UK to demonstrate their rights of residence”, said Chief Executive Kathryn Chamberlain.
Another area of ??impact is the "obtaining documents from the respective countries, such as the renewal of passports" or identity cards, required to apply for the EU Citizens' Registration System (EU Settlement Scheme).
Portuguese citizen Tiago Petinga, 32 years old, told Lusa News Agency last week that he still couldn't collect the Citizen Card from his daughter Marisol, born in January last year, at the Portuguese Consulate in Manchester.
“I have already tried to call and send emails. We need her Card to make her application, because I, my girlfriend and our oldest daughter already have it”, he explained.
Official sources at the Embassy told Lusa that, "despite the restrictions resulting from the pandemic and confinement [in England], the Consulates General [in London and Manchester] continue to operate, with extended hours and responding to all urgent situations".
He also said that there are "many vacancies to fill" and that consulates are able to document those who need them before the deadline, which is 30 June.
By the end of September, the British Interior Ministry said it had received 296,850 applications from Portuguese citizens.
In total, the British Government said it had received 4.88 million applications by the end of December, of which 4.49 million had been processed.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to extend the deadline, claiming that the process is successful.