Monika has been living in the UK on and off for 19 years. Faced with an error on her digital-only status, she was stuck in a waiting game with the Home Office.
"I moved to the UK from Poland in 1996 and lived here for 15 years. After living in Poland for a few years, I returned to the UK in 2016. I was given pre-settled status in February 2020 and when I wanted to apply to settled status in 2021, I got stuck in a loophole in my online account.
I was able to see only my previous application and unable to make a new one. This digital-only solution doesn't work. I needed to speak to a case worker but the Resolution Centre helpline always disconnected me. I've tried time and time again and been unable to get through.
I've done everything right but the system is still very aggressive and simplistic. I could only see basic information about my status and I was very afraid that at the click of a button, I could delete vital information. I couldn't even send a letter to a case worker.
I feel like I don't have ownership of my immigration status. It's the 21st century and the Home Office can't make a straight forward workable website which enables us to access our rights.
I understand errors happen, but there were no solutions in sight. I'm all for convenience and ease, but when you have a digital system which glitches, you need alternative ways for people to get in touch. The only safeguard in place is a helpline which no one picks up.
In the meantime, I have limited rights with pre-settled status, which is more precarious than indefinite leave to remain (settled). I can only leave the country for 6 months out of any 12 months. I can't consider applying for British citizenship.
Pre-settled status has an expiration date and if nothing changes in the way the Home Office resources its schemes, I can see how people will be faced with a myriad of issues.
I'm angry for myself, and for all the other EU citizens who are more vulnerable than me and may struggle with technology. It's a disgrace to be denied your rights. Its 21st Century and the lack of user friendly Home Office website to allow one see their uploaded documents makes me think of Windrush generation - can this happen again? It did happen to many people and it might happen again."