Android-only app for EU citizens seeking settled status
Come March 29th, Britain will leave the European Union. When we voted, we understood that would mean that we have to give up our rights to free and easy access to the rest of Europe, and likewise it would make UK immigration more difficult for Europeans. The problem is, however, what about the 3.7 million Europeans who currently live here? They can apply for ‘settled status’ so that they are distinguished from people seeking to come into the UK post-Brexit. In order to do so, however, they need to verify their passport using a special app. The problem is, this app has been designed to run solely on the Android platform, leaving those with iOS devices high and dry.
The Government has been heavily criticised, most notably by 71 Labour MPs and MEPs, including Paul Blomfield, Shadow Brexit Minister, for the app that has been set up to help these EU citizens claim their ‘settled status’. It seems that using the app is an essential part of the application process because EU citizens need to have their passport verified before they can continue with their application on the GOV.co.uk website. If they can’t verify it using the app, they will need to travel to one of the 13 centres around the country to have it verified in person. This has obviously left those without access to a phone running the Android system feeling uneasy.
The Government has said that this is only a testing phase and that EU citizens don’t need to apply until we actually leave the European Union. At that point, more centres will be set-up and a postal checking service will also be in operation. However, those unhappy with the current arrangements claim that it can build distrust between the Government and those EU citizens living in the UK. They claim that the EU citizens affected are living in uncertain times and that they need a system that works for them now, to give them the reassurances that they need about their post-Brexit status.