Closed petition Provide settled and pre-settled status EU citizens a physical document as proof.

EU citizens on the scheme have no documentary evidence to provide border agents, landlords and prospective employers their right to reside in the UK other than a website. Also the paperless system is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Provide a physical document/ID to prove settled status.

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 August 2019

The EU Settlement Scheme protects the rights of EU citizens in UK law and gives them a secure digital status, which unlike a physical document, cannot be lost, stolen, damaged or tampered with.

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As set out in the Government’s White Paper on the future skills-based immigration system, from 2021 individuals will increasingly be required to use online services to demonstrate their immigration status to others. However, the Home Office is transitioning towards digital status, recognising individuals and organisations need time to adjust. We have been clear that EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to use their passport or national identity card to travel to and evidence their status in the UK until the new border and immigration system is introduced in 2021. There is no requirement for them to start using their digital status until then.

This provides significant period of transition during which individuals can choose whether to use their digital status. Many of those granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) are already using their digital status to prove their right to work. And our research with users indicates that many people granted EUSS leave want to use their digital status to prove their rights across a range of other scenarios. Feedback so far on the digital status service has been positive. Users find it simple and easy to use. The service has been designed to be widely accessible so that most users will not require any assistance accessing or using their status. We recognise there will be a small minority who do not find it as easy to use; that is why we provide a range of support to them.

Applicants to the EUSS continue to receive written notice of their immigration status by email or letter, which they can keep for their personal records. However, due to the possibility of fraud and abuse this document cannot be used to evidence an individual’s immigration status to external organisations.

Immigration decisions and the rights and conditions that flow from those decisions have been recorded digitally by the Home Office since the turn of the century, but physical documents have historically been issued to enable individuals to evidence their status to others when required. While physical documents have evolved over time to address security weaknesses the risk of forgery and counterfeiting still exists.

Since 2018, it has been increasingly possible for individuals to view the digital record of their immigration status held by the Home Office. The online status service is secure and can be accessed and shared with others anywhere and in real time. Unlike physical documents, digital status cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with and puts individuals in control of their own data; giving them direct access to information held by the Home Office and, in line with the principles of data minimisation, will share only the information required by a checker, rather than all the information held on a physical card. Digital status will make it simpler for those conducting status checks. Instead of checking a myriad of physical documents they will be able to conduct one quick and simple online check via Home Office systems. A digital status is also easier to use for visually impaired users, who may have difficulty reading a physical document.

All Home Office systems, including online status services, are secure by design and undergo rigorous cyber assessments before launch. Our IT systems include several mechanisms to detect and respond to malicious intrusions. The processing and storage of information related to this service is conducted on highly available and resilient systems.

All data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Our IT staff are security cleared and data will only be accessed by those who have a valid business reason to access it. The Home Office regularly monitors the systems for abuse and misuse.

With this non-exhaustive list of measures, we ensure the online status service is resilient to external attack and is available for the public to use.

Non-EEA citizens granted status under other immigration routes can already prove their right to work digitally via the Employee Checking Service. Since this service went live in April 2018 there have been over 40,000 employer profile views. A similar service to enable right to rent checks is in private test phase and will be launched later this year. We are introducing these services in advance of moving to a fully digital environment, allowing us to develop and improve them based on feedback, and to embed the concept amongst users.

We are committed to delivering an approach that will enable users to demonstrate their status and access the services they are eligible for in the simplest and most secure way possible. When accessing public services, e.g. benefits and healthcare, the Home Office will increasingly make the relevant aspects of an individual’s status available automatically through system to system checks, at the point at which they seek to access the public services. Individuals will simply need to provide relevant identifying information for government departments and public bodies to confirm their eligibility.

Home Office