Nov 1, 2018

Brexit: UK government's battle with Apple over EU citizens app

The UK government is preparing to launch a smartphone app to make it as easy as possible for EU citizens to apply to remain in the UK after Brexit - the only problem is it doesn't fully work on Apple devices. As things stand, people with Apple devices will not be able to scan their passports and will either have to borrow an Android phone to complete their application or post their passport to the UK Visa and Immigration Service instead, meaning the process is likely to take longer. Home Office officials knew there would be a problem with Apple devices when the app was announced early this year. The Home Office point out that the Dutch government is also calling on Apple to unlock its chip reader to allow citizens to access its digital services. The Home Office has also signed a £91m contract with French company Sopra Steria to set up computer terminals at 56 local libraries around the UK to help those without smartphones, or without the necessary digital skills, to apply to stay in the UK. But given how much emphasis ministers placed on the convenience and ease with which EU citizens would be able to apply by smartphone - and the sheer volume of people they need to process - the continuing issues with Apple have to be seen as a setback.

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