On International Women's Day,
an unsettling warning...
March 8, 2019
Women from the EU who live in the UK may find it difficult to register online for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, because the app is confused by maiden names, says an immigration rights campaign group.
To coincide with International Women’s Day, the3million warns that the government’s digital application scheme is currently unable to carry out a search for the same person who has records in more than one name.
As a result, any woman who uses both her unmarried and married name on her passport, tax return or gas bill may struggle to prove her identity and length of residency.
According to the Independent, one elderly Dutch citizen who has lived in the UK for years has been trying unsuccessfully to obtain settled status. Even though she is said to have produced her marriage certificate and other documents, she is ‘pulling my hair out. Tears of frustration. Been phoning the helpline several times.’
The UK is legally bound to ensure equality in all new laws and policies. However, women are more likely to be discriminated against when using the EU Settlement Scheme app, as they may have worked part-time or taken career breaks. As a result they may not have made sufficient National Insurance payments or benefit claims.
The 3million spokeswoman Katia Widlak said:
‘If the government is serious about gender equality, it needs to change the design and make it a simple registration instead of a conditional application.
‘People still need to register for settled status but won’t get punished if they miss the deadline and will not be treated as illegal.’
This note of caution comes on a day of more bad news for the Home Office. A government thinktank announced that the Home Office is not delivering the service that it promises.
The Institute for Government (IfG) suggests that ministers consider whether the department continues to deal with managing migration to and from the UK after Brexit.
The IfG said:
‘There is a big gap between what politicians and policy officials think happens in the system and what actually happens on the frontline.’
The IfG also points out failings including unrealistic targets, the widely-criticised ‘hostile environment’, and poor decision-making.