Paper proof of settled status: gov.uk digs in

A thread by Richard Haviland

The Home Office has waited until just days before a crucial debate in the House of Lords to reject a proposal from @the3million for addressing the problems caused by the digital-only immigration status given to EU citizens in the UK. THREAD

Since Brexit, ministers’ failure to provide EU citizens with physical back-up has been a running sore. It leaves them uniquely disadvantaged relative to others.

They can have difficulty when trying to prove their status to employers, to landlords or – in the event of a systems outage – to UK border officials. It’s also unfair on those who are vulnerable or who lack digital know-how.

This leaves EU citizens at risk of discrimination. It undermines the commitment in the Withdrawal Agreement to treat them fairly. And it breaks the promise made in 2016 by @pritipatel that EU citizens would be treated “no less favourably than they are at present”.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland executive have all called on the Home Office to provide the option of a physical back-up, but to no avail. Here’s their joint letter. (gov.scot/publications/p…) 

Later this week, the House of Lords will vote on an amendment (79) to the Nationality and Borders Bill, tabled by @oatesjonny, which would require the Home Secretary to provide the option of a physical back-up to anybody eligible who requests it.

It’s extraordinary that the Home Office has waited until just days before this debate before rejecting the @the3million proposal, which would use a secure QR code with full encrypted details of an individual’s status – to be printed off if they wished to do so.

It’s not as if the proposal is new to the Home Office – they have been discussing it with @the3million for nine months.

Crucially, not only have the Home Office rejected the proposal – they have failed to offer any sort of alternative. That’s why it’s so important that Amendment 79 succeeds this week.

It’s a pity the government has to be forced to do the right thing. But if that’s what’s required, we should urge Peers to help. We can all help by writing to them.
Full details of @the3million campaign can be found here.

 (the3million.org.uk/fix-the-digita…) @WCountryVoices @GreenJennyJones @monlouhawk @ElenaInLimbo @Scientists4EU @BestForBritain 

One extra tweet – I was unaware that the Scottish and Welsh governments and Northern Ireland executive had since written another letter to @kevin_j_foster with more detail on the very real effect this is having on people’s lives. Here it is. (gov.scot/publications/p…)