Home Office plans to deploy an app registering EU citizens have been postponed due to uncertainty of status for residents arriving in the Brexit transition period.
The application has been designed to replace the current 85-page permanent residency application process, which residents are required to fill out to remain in the UK after Brexit. The aim of the app is to speed up the bureaucratic process.
Residents were set to see a trial of the app in January, however the timetabled plans have been shunted after Theresa May insisted on different rules for those arriving during the two year Brexit transition period. The Prime Minister said that they would be no automatic right to remain for EU citizens coming to the UK after the deadline day.
Despite the concerns, the new app makes it easier for residents to apply for residency in the UK. The app simply requires the applicant to scan their passport and national insurance number into an online system or phone application, then this information will be cross-checked with tax and pension data from HMRC and Department for Work and Pensions. This data will confirm the stay status of the applicant, processing their right to stay.
Those who have been in the country for five years or more must answer basic questions on their nationality and work status, then given a permanent settled status based on their answers. In comparison, those who have been in the UK less than five years will be given a temporary status number until reaching five years.
Concerns have been brought to light about the practicality of the system, stating that the older generation will find it harder to carry out the process if they have no computers. The campaign group the 3million has argued there still needs to be a face to face solution to the 85 page application form. However, according to the Guardian the Home Office has said it will provide assistance for those who could not make an online application.
Suggestions have been made that the Home Office launches an outreach programme, to establish where vulnerable groups were. Furthermore, there will be a new review mechanism to fix any issues found on the application.
The trial date for the application has still not been set ahead of the implementation of Brexit in 2019.