Apple still refusing to allow
Home Office to use iPhones
for Settlement Scheme

Nokes told a Home Affairs Committee that Apple ‘won’t release the upgrade we need in order for it to function.’

Since then, there have been several unsuccessful meetings, including a fruitless trip to Silicon Valley from the current Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The UK Government are not the only ones to complain to no avail.  The Dutch are reported to have also asked the US tech giant to unlock their chip reader so that their nationals can gain access to digital services.

Home Offices sources told the BBC ‘we are continuing to engage with Apple at the highest level‘  but were unable to confirm whether the situation would be resolved before Brexit in 2019.

If it isn’t, EU citizens with iPhones will be forced to have to post their passports to the Home Office for physical verification rather than online, risking delays or losses to important documents.

The scale of the problem is daunting, as it is estimated that 50 per cent of all UK phone users own an iPhone. There are more than three million EU citizens in the UK, who will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status.

But even if everything was going smoothly, time is running out. An average of at least 5,000 applications must be processed every working day between now and June 2021, when the scheme closes. Despite ‘very positive feedback’ for the initial pilot scheme, a mere 650 EU citizens have been registered so far.

This is more bad news for the Home Office, who launch the first phase of their new UK visa and citizenship customer journey on Monday 9 November.

This is the revised system through which migrants apply to extend their stay in this country. The French digital firm, Sopra Steria, winner of a £91million contract, has set up computer terminals at libraries in Newcastle, Burnholme, Liverpool, Warrington, Stockport, Wakefield, Lancaster, Burnley and Hull.

In total, 56 local sites around the country, as well as six ‘core centres’, will be open by the end of November.

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