Home Office Advert Banned For Misleading EU Citizens

28 August 2019, 11:00

The Home Office insisted the advert was part of a wider campaign promoting awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Home Office insisted the advert was part of a wider campaign promoting awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme. Picture: PA

Advertising watchdog says the Home Office ad breaches regulations by claiming EU citizens applying to stay in the UK after Brexit only need a passport or ID card.

A Home Office radio advert which aired in April aimed to promote the government's EU Settlement Scheme that allows EU citizens and their families to apply to live and work in the UK after freedom of movement ends.

Listeners were told: "All you need to apply is your passport or ID card and to complete an online form".

But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the claim was misleading, as many applicants were required to submit further documents not stated in the ad.

The Home Office said: "We completely disagree with ASA's decision. The campaign was factual and complied with all necessary clearance processes for radio advertising.

“The scheme is free, straightforward and EU citizens and their family members have plenty of time to apply. All they need to apply is their passport or ID card and to complete an online form.”

Border checks at Heathrow airport
Border checks at Heathrow airport. Picture: PA

The Home Office said the campaign has had a positive impact and encouraged more than one million successful applications so far.

But campaign group the3million welcomed the verdict, saying it showed that the Home Office had a tendency to “oversimplify complex issues”.

In its ruling, the advertising watchdog ruled that the proportion of people asked to submit further documents was higher than what the audience was likely to believe from listening to the ad.

Applicants must prove their identity, show that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

The finding comes amid concern over the EU settlement scheme after it emerged that two million EU citizens living in the UK have yet to register.

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