Failure to access digital technology has deterred many retirement-aged EU nationals from applying to the EU settlement scheme (EUSS).
Concerns have been raised over the vulnerability of people aged over 65 to the UK`s unfriendly environmental policies. Many individuals in this group missed the deadline for applications at the end of June.
According to charities offering assistance to the older Europeans to apply, many individuals have no mobile phone, no digital access, and inappropriate or no documentation”. As a result, only 2 percent of applicants for the settlement scheme were aged over 65.
Campaigners for the scheme have been calling for the introduction of an option of a physical document to prove status and rights in Britain to be granted.
Julie Bishop, the director of the Law Centres Network, said: “Some people were always going to struggle to apply for settled status, but the Home Office has little knowledge of who they are, and the EUSS was not designed with them in mind. Late applications can be made, but the Home Office alone decides on whether to accept them.
“Windrush has shown us that we cannot rely on their discretionary decisions. Today we call on the Home Office to publish the criteria for acceptance of late applications.”
A report from the House of Lords European affairs committee called on the government to extend the support to ensure that late applicants secure their status as well.