A major internet outage that affected many important websites including gov.uk has prompted EU campaigners and citizens to once again demand physical proof of settled status in the UK.
Currently, EU citizens living in the UK and applying for the scheme before 30 June can only prove their rights to be in the country by digital access to gov.uk.
A Facebook group post on the Forum for EU citizens (the3million) warned that the major outage meant the Settled Status database was inaccessible, saying:
“Hope no one is stuck at the border right now…This HAS GOT to be ammunition in our struggle to get a physical document to prove our status!”
Group member Marcel Droog said he emailed his MP “once again imploring him” to support physical documents for EU citizens in the UK. He called on others to do the same.
Eddy Guerreiro said it is “beyond him” why EU citizens haven’t been given “a green card like in America”.
“Surely life would have been much easier this way,” he added.
On Twitter, Elena Remigi, In Limbo campaigner for EU citizens rights, said: “There has just been a major internet outage affecting news websites like the Guardian or the FT, plus the entire http://gov.uk domain – including the Settled Status database.
“Hope no one is at a border or elsewhere trying to prove their status!”
Dawn Lanzberg said the event is “exactly” why people need a “physical card” to prove their status.
He said: “There’s a reason we don’t vote electronically – it isn’t safe and it isn’t reliable.
“You cannot convince me this situation is any different.”
This is exactly why people like me need a physical card to prove their status. There’s a reason we don’t vote electronically – it isn’t safe and it isn’t reliable. You cannot convince me this situation is any different. https://t.co/So0KskJFMS— Dawn Lanzberg (@DawnLanzberg) June 8, 2021
Another user said not having a physical document as proof means “relying on an internet connection or servers that need expensive and constant maintenance, and websites prone to crashes”.
And Richard Haviland said there is no better evidence to show those with settled status need physical proof. “There is no justification for the Westminster government continuing to deny it,” he said.
And this is why we need #PhysicalProof, a #PhysicalDocument that proves our status without relying on an internet connection or servers that need expensive and constant maintenance, and websites prone to crashes. https://t.co/nMBqWKpcSB— Fluffy Fully Vaxxed Mask-wearing Viking ♿???? (@TheFluffyViking) June 8, 2021
What better evidence could you want that those with settled status need physical proof of it? There is no justification for the Westminster government continuing to deny it. https://t.co/jNrZtXYOQl— Richard Haviland (@rfhaviland) June 8, 2021
Last week, Nicolas Hatton, the CEO of EU citizens’ rights organisation the3million, said the online system sometimes does not recognise identity documents needed to prove settled status.
He told The London Economic: “There will be discrimination in the workplace because some employers won’t be able to check the status.
“The existing discrimination in Britain will be exacerbated. It’s very concerning that the government will not provide a physical proof for this status.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Every day, thousands of people are being granted status under the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme. We urge people who are eligible to apply as soon as possible and secure the rights they deserve in UK law and join the millions of people who have been granted status.
“Physical documents may get lost or expire but digital status will not, and can be accessed any time, with comparable nations such as Australia having moved successfully to wholly digital status some years ago.”