A phone app for EU nationals who must register to stay in Britain after Brexit is riddled with problems, according to a support group that has protested to the Home Office.
Users have reported that the passport chip scanner does not work on certain phones and that the app – called EU Exit – does not appear to work abroad.
There are also concerns that the Home Office requires the EU citizens to allow their data, including photos, to be shared with other public and private organisations at home and overseas.
The controversy comes on top of a previous row over the app not working at all on iPhones, but only on Android devices.
The Home Office has now told people without an Android phone that they must travel to one of 13 locations to register – paying an additional fee, plus their travel costs.
The3million group, representing EU nationals, said that of 77 people who had left a review of the app during the current trial, no fewer than 40 had reported that it did not work properly.
“There are only 112 days left for @ukhomeoffice to iron out any bugs before go live,” the organisation tweeted on Friday.
“A Settled Status application app that doesn't work for over half of the EU citizens who either don't have an Android device or one that is not working with the app - and now the Government wants to tax those who the app fails to service. One couldn't make this up.”
Users reviewing the app protested that, when the passport chip scanner failed, it was then frozen for seven days.
One, named Rara S, wrote: “It works up to when you need to scan the passport. Nothing happens and it says no information found.”
Dario Balacco wrote: “Even after the update, the app fails at the first step: it does not recognise the document when scanning the photo page. It stays stuck at ‘looking for document’.
“Tried all sorts of things but nothing seems to make it work. This must be fixed, and it should have already been fixed.”
Some universities and companies are reported to have bought the most up-to-date smart phones to lend their students or staff, whose own phones do not work with the app.
The Home Office said the aim of the trial was to identify and fix bugs before the app goes live nationwide at the end of March.
“The ongoing private test phase of the EU settlement scheme is providing us with vital and welcome feedback on the functionality of the system, including the beta version of the app, to help us make any necessary changes before the scheme is opened fully by 30 March 2019,” a spokesperson said.
“So far, the overwhelming majority of those starting applications on the app have completed them successfully.”
Image by Swissbert, public domain through flickr