As reported in the Guardian, Home Office officials from the UK met with MEPs yesterday to offer reassurance that functions of a new Home Office app designed for EU nationals seeking to stay in the UK, were sound.
However, in an embarrassing u turn, officials had to concede a major blunder after it was revealed that the user-friendly app will not work on iPhone- a brand that is used by over half the adult population.
Reports suggest that one MEP was told by Home Office staff, who attended the meeting, that anyone who couldn’t access the app (due to owning an iPhone) should simply borrow a friend’s phone and use that instead.
It beggars’ belief that an app designed to be used by more than Three million EU nationals won’t be accessible on a major platform – the most common piece of hardware used globally.
It didn’t stop there-Amber Rudd came under increasing fire for suggesting the app would be as easy to use as “setting up an online account at [the fashion retailer] LK Bennett” – claiming it had been “extensively tested”. However, officials at yesterdays meeting admitted that mass testing of the app had yet to begin.
And further problems could occur after officials stated that 1000 call centre case workers would be needed to help EU citizens, but the recruitment process has not even started.
There is also concern surrounding the cost of registering, which at £72 per person is unquestionably expensive for most families. In addition, the requirements expect every member of a family to apply individually for settled status.
Following the dreadful treatment in the UK of the Windrush generation there is renewed anxiety the Government may not get this right. But this is precisely why it has no room for errors. Any mistakes made today in the construction of the technology (or in any other areas) may well have consequences for many generations of EU citizens to come.