Martin Whitfield MP has joined more than 70 Labour colleagues in writing to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling on him to act immediately to address problems experienced by EU citizens with using non-Android devices to apply for settled status.
Since 21 January, the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK have been able to apply for settled status by using an Android-only app to confirm their identity using their passport, then complete their application on the gov.uk website by providing evidence they have lived continuously in the UK for five years.
Anyone without the right phone can only verify their identity at one of 13 centres around the UK, but people in some areas face long journeys, with the only Scottish centre being located in Edinburgh.
The open letter from parliamentarians to the Home Secretary says the system “flies in the face of fair treatment of EU nationals”. It goes on to say that “After the Windrush scandal the public are acutely aware of administrative obstacles and difficulties within our immigration system.”
It also demands that the settled status scheme should not be plagued with public distrust and says that the operating difficulty is not providing the confidence that the public, our EU friends and parliamentarians need.
Martin Whitfield MP said:
“I have signed this letter calling on the Government to ensure the settled status application for EU nationals is made available on all phone devices in order to end this ludicrous ‘digital discrimination’ against some applicants.
“A number of East Lothian residents have already expressed serious concerns about the distress and uncertainty this is causing them at what is already an incredibly unsettling time for many EU citizens living here. I believe it is vital that the Home Secretary now acts quickly to resolve this problem and ensure that the process is equally accessible to all.”