the3million’s views on the Document Scanning Centres for EU citizens recently launched by the Home Office.
We have been crying out for local support centres for EU citizens applying for Settled Status. And has the Home Office reacted?
As of today 13 ‘local’ Document Scanning Centres across the UK have opened up:
- London (Hackney)
- London (Southwark)
We have mapped those ‘local’ Document Scanning Centres for EU citizens below. Do you spot the problem?
‘Local’ Document Scanning Centres
Yes... A lot of areas with no coverage. From Scotland to Wales to Norfolk and Suffolk — all blank areas.
These Document Scanning Centres are set up to help those who haven’t got a compatible Android phone or lack the technical skills to navigate the Settled Status app.
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 ‘the closest’ to the Edinburgh centre the average round trip is 140 miles! Similar to Caerphilly with 123 miles!
Looking at the maximum distance to travel for each Centre the picture becomes even more shocking. EU Citizens living on the Shetland Islands will have to travel a whopping 622 miles to Edinburgh and back to use the Document Scanning Service.
Looking at the location of those ‘local’ Document Scanning Centres by regions shows that on average EU citizens living in Scotland, the South West and Wales are forced to travel the furthest for this Home Office ‘service’.
Again, the Shetland Islands take the top spot of maximum distance to travel, but even if EU citizens live in Caister-on-Sea they are expected to make a 204-mile round trip just to get their passports scanned (in London!).
Young urban EU citizens will most likely not struggle to find an Android device and to use the app. Those in rural areas, people with disabilities and the elderly, however, will most likely need local assistance.
Forcing the most vulnerable to travel 74 miles on average and up to 622 miles return to just use a service they can’t cope with, and which is forced upon them, is of no real help. Opening 13 Document Scanning Centres across the whole UK is nothing more than a token gesture.
And on top of that, after EU citizens spent hours in car or on public transport to get to one of those ‘local’ Document Scanning Centres, they are then charged £14 to use this ‘service’.
And if you think that EU citizens, after paying £14 and spending hours travelling, will receive at least some advice on their Settled Status application, you are wrong:
“This service is for ID document checking only.”
In summary, the Home Office has introduced a token ‘service’ that makes those most in need of support with Settled Status travel for hours, provides them with no advice whatsoever and charges them £14 for the fun of it.
Sajid Javid, is that what you class as a service orientated Home Office?
The current trial is open to the whole cohort of EU citizens. If we are not flagging these issues now, when should we?🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)