The UK would introduce an Estonia-style virtual identity card for EU nationals who settle in the UK following Brexit, according to reports.
The Home Office yesterday released more details of its proposals to safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU, originally outlined last week.
Last night’s BBC Newsnight reported that the UK is proposing online ID cards for those who take permanent residency, with data stored in a Home Office computer.
The government document released yesterday said: “Our aim is to make the application process as streamlined and user-friendly as possible for EU citizens and their families lawfully resident in the UK.
“We intend to use existing government data, such as income records, to minimise the burden of documentary evidence required (for example, to prove continuous residence).”
It is likely that EU citizens and family members who wish to take advantage of the streamlined digital process will need to provide their passport, as well as biometric information to protect against fraud.
Speaking on Newsnight, Home Office immigration minister Brandon Lewis said that the application process would be “light touch, using digital technology as far as possible”.
He refused to confirm that the government is looking at introducing a digital ID card for those who settle in the UK from the EU, but said that the application form would be much shorter than at present.
Commenting on the government’s proposals, Julian David, chief executive of industry representative body Tech UK, said: “The Government’s commitment to a streamlined process and use of existing Government data to verify citizen history, as recommended by TechUK, is an example of how technology can help to address many of the practical challenges presented by Brexit.”
He added that the announcement of proposals on how to deal with EU citizens in the UK was an “important step forward” for employers in the IT sector.
He said: “Approximately seven per cent of the UK’s tech workforce are EU nationals and they and their families need clarity about their rights to live and work in the UK post-Brexit.”
But he urged the government to start the application process for settled status as soon as possible.”