The Immigration Minister wrote to the Observer this week in response to a misleading article on the EU Settlement Scheme in last weekend's paper. The letter, which has not been published by the Observer this weekend, is carried below.
I was saddened to read your article last week on the anxiety felt by EU citizens living in the UK. The Government’s number one priority which we have delivered on has been to secure the rights of those that have contributed so much to our economy and to our society – deal or no deal.
We are currently testing the EU Settlement Scheme before it is fully rolled out and have processed large volumes of applications in the first week alone. At the moment it is voluntary and there is no rush to apply.
I also want to correct some of the inaccuracies in the article to further reassure your readers.
It is not true that people will need an android device to apply. People can use any desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet to make an application.
What we are doing now is testing the app which checks ID without people needing to send their documents to us. This is currently only available on android devices but we continue to engage constructively with Apple. From 30 March this will be optional and they will be able send their ID in the post or get their passport chip checked in over 50 locations.
We are also providing grant funding of up to £9 million for voluntary and community organisations across the UK to support vulnerable and at-risk EU citizens who need additional help and we continue to work in partnership with vulnerable group representatives, local authorities and other experts.
We want to reach everyone and give them the status they need as quickly and as efficiently as we can – I am confident that we will do so.
Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes