EU citizens without Android devices could have to travel 250 miles in Home Office settlement scheme pilot
EU citizens working in the NHS and higher education sectors can now apply for settled status in the UK – but those with an iPhone could face a long journey if they wish to do so
EU citizens wishing to take part in the pilot of the government’s settlement scheme could have to travel 250 miles if they wish to scan their documents but do not have access to an Android device.
Pilots of the settlement scheme got underway last month, with EU citizens working in the NHS or social-care sector throughout the UK now able to apply for settled status. Employees of many higher-education institutions can also take part in the pilot phase, as can some children in local-authority care or those receiving support from certain community organisations. To obtain settled status during the pilot, EU citizens must apply,
- Thurso: 264 miles by road to Edinburgh
- Penzance: 191 miles by road to Bath
- Port Logan: 134 miles by road to Edinburgh
- Holyhead: 118 miles by road to Sale
- Cromer: 105 miles by road to Lincoln
- Belleek: 104 miles by road to Belfast
However, for those without access to such an Android phone or tablet, the government has also set up 13 locations (marked on the pictured map) around the UK where users can make an appointment to scan their documents.
While these are scattered throughout the country, there are numerous areas of the UK – such as parts of Cornwall, East Anglia, and west and northern Scotland – that are a long way from any of the available locations. In some cases, the distance by road is as much as 260 miles.
The locations – which are mostly register offices – are in Belfast, Edinburgh, Stockton-on-Tees, Hull, Lincoln, Sale, West Bromwich, Caerphilly, Bath, Hatfield, Southampton, and two in London: in Hackney; and Southwark.
The Home Office indicated to PublicTechnology that, once the programme launches in full, the number of document-scanning facilities available to applicants will be expanded beyond the current 13 locations – although a specific number is not yet available, according to the department.
The settlement scheme is due to be fully up and running by 30 March next year – the day after the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union. From this date, EU citizens wishing to remain in the UK after the end of 2020 will have 15 months to apply for settled status or, for those who came to the country from 2016 onwards, pre-settled status.
Applying will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children.
A Home Office spokesperson told PublicTechnology: “It is wrong to suggest that EU citizens will have to travel to have their documents checked. The vast majority of applicants will have access to the EU Exit Identity Document Check app which will make it easy for them to have their identity confirmed automatically.
“As part of the private and voluntary phase of testing we opened 13 locations across the country to support applicants using the ‘EU Exit: Identity Document Check’ app. This will be expanded once the scheme is fully rolled out.
“However, once the scheme is fully launched, a postal route for the submission of ID evidence will also be available.”
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