Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

EU migrants frustrated by Brexit settled status plans

EU nationals looking to stay post-Brexit can only use one type of device for applications

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May previously spearheaded the government department responsible for immigration policy. AFP 
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May previously spearheaded the government department responsible for immigration policy. AFP 

Non-British EU nationals living in the UK have been documenting their frustrations about Brexit, and more specifically, the protracted nature of how they can apply for settled status in the UK on Twitter.

Advice given to EU nationals on what to do to remain the UK has been patchy. And so too is the means by which they can apply.

To apply for settle status, applications can only use an Android device to confirm their identity, then file evidence of residency on the UK government’s website. Other mobile devices such as iPhones and desktop computers cannot be used for applications.

Spare a thought for the elderly who are more than likely to be without the online access needed to submit an application.

The UK Government says that anyone unable to find an android device can visit one of 13 centres across the UK. In Scotland, there is just one.

Citizens’ rights group ‘the 3 million’ maps out the centres and points out the problems of their disparate locations.

And even then, applications will have to submit an online application despite taking a long journey to an official centre.

“On average EU citizens will have to do a 74-mile round trip to visit one of the 13 centres below. This varies considerably though by centre. For those who live "closest" to the Edinburgh centre the average round trip is 140 miles. Similarly to Caerphilly (south Wales) with 123 miles,” the advocacy group said.

Those reporting on the issue have gone so far as to express their exasperation.

A beta version is available, but is only accessible for a small pool of applications. The government has earmarked March 30, the day after Brexit, as the earliest date for all UK-based foreign born EU nationals to apply for permanent residency.

With political uncertainty still circling Brexit, and the possibility of the UK crashing out of Europe with no deal protecting worker and residency rights, social media posts expressing anxiety have gained traction.

Some have resorted to borrowing Samsung Galaxy tablets from friends and colleagues to kickstart the process.

The UK Home Office say the process will be easy after Brexit – although understandably, EU nationals are scrambling now to ensure they won’t be caught out in the coming months.

Updated: January 30, 2019 06:00 PM