Freedom of Information
Central Correspondence Team
Customer Service Operations
PO Box 3468
FOI Reference: 53882
19 June 2019
Dear Mr Cockayne,
Thank you for your enquiry of 28 May in which you requested information on EU
Settlement Scheme Surinder Singh paper applications. Your request has been
handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Information Requested
Please can I have answers to the following questions:
1. The number of requests made for Surinder Singh Paper Applications between
30th March 2019 and 14th April 2019.
2. The total number of requests made for Surinder Singh Paper Applications
between 30th March 2019 and 28th May 2019.
3. The total number of Surinder Singh Paper Applications posted out to applicants by
28th May 2019.
4. The total number of completed Surinder Singh Paper Applications received by
28th May 2019.
5. The total number of Surinder Singh Paper Applications fully processed by 28th
UK Visas and Immigration is an operational command of the Home Office
6. A copy of the guidance for applicants completing the Surinder Singh Application
7. A copy of the guidance for caseworkers processing Surinder Singh Application
8. The recorded target timescale for caseworkers to fully process a Surinder Singh
application from the date it is entered on the database.
In response to your first five questions, I can confirm that we hold the information you
have requested. However, in-line with published statistics, data is only currently
available to request up until 31 March. As EU Settlement Scheme Surinder Singh
paper applications only went live on 18 April, which is after the latest dates of
available data, we have concluded that the information you have requested is
exempt from disclosure under section 36(2)(c) of the Freedom of Information Act.
This provides that information can be withheld where disclosure would prejudice the
effective conduct of public affairs and the public interest falls in favour of applying the
Please find our considerations regarding disclosure outlined in Annex 2 below.
In response to your sixth, seventh and eighth questions, Section 21(1) of the FOIA
exempts the Home Office from having to provide you with this information as we
believe that the information is already reasonably accessible to you.
The published guidance can be found in the links below. I have also included a link
to contact the Settlement Resolution Centre, who can provide assistance to anyone
who has any queries in regards to their own application.
Guidance for applicants: https://www.gov.uk/family-permit/surinder-singh
Guidance for caseworkers: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attach
Expected processing times: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-
Settlement Resolution Centre: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk/y/inside-the-uk/eu-settlement-
If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal
review of our handling of your request by submitting a complaint within two months
quoting reference 53882. If you ask for an
internal review, it would be helpful if you could say why you are dissatisfied with the
As part of any internal review the Department's handling of your information request
will be reassessed by staff not involved in providing you with this response. If you
remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you would have a right of complaint to
the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of
Customer Service Operations
We value your feedback, please use the link below to access a brief anonymous
survey to help us improve our service to you: http://www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/108105TAZNG
- Public interest test
Some of the exemptions in the FOI Act, referred to as ‘qualified exemptions’, are
subject to a public interest test (PIT). This test is used to balance the public interest
in disclosure against the public interest in favour of withholding the information. We
must carry out a PIT where we are considering using any of the qualified exemptions
in response to a request for information.
The ‘public interest’ is not the same as what interests the public. In carrying out a
PIT we consider the greater good or benefit to the community, as a whole, if the
information is released or not. The ‘right to know’ must be balanced against the need
to enable effective government, and to serve the best interests of the public.
Please note that the FOI Act is ‘applicant blind’. This means that we cannot, and do
not, ask about the motives of anyone who asks for information. In providing a
response to one person, we are expressing a willingness to provide the same
response to anyone, including those who might represent a threat to the UK.
Considerations in favour of disclosing the information
There is a general public interest in statistics relating to migration. Disclosure of the
information requested would increase accountability and transparency and enhance
the public’s understanding of current trends in the EU Settled Status Scheme. All of
these factors are in the public interest and there is some weight to be given to the
considerations in favour of disclosing the information.
Considerations in favour of withholding the information
The Department publishes migration statistics quarterly and intends to publish
migration statistics for April, May and June, later this year. Although the exact
breakdown of the information requested will not be published, it will form part of the
overall figures. Premature release of the subset of data requested could form part of
a series of requests which together could build up a picture of the overall data due to
be published. Although it is accepted that you may not necessarily be interested in
making subsequent requests, information released to one person under the FOI Act
is, in effect, released to the public at large. This would provide an opportunity for
others to submit additional requests ahead of the planned publication date in order to
obtain the information prematurely.
Premature disclosure of statistics without adhering to established pre-publication
procedures (which include internal consultation about the final statistics being
published) would undermine the Department’s ability to use its staff resources
effectively in a planned way, so that reasonable publication timetables are not
We conclude that the overall balance of the public interest lies in favour of
withholding the information to ensure that the Home Office is able to publish
migration statistics in a managed and coherent way.