According to the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme Statistics March 2020, more than 3.1 million applications were successfully concluded, with the vast majority using the digital route. This marks the world’s largest, most successful digital on-boarding immigration programme using remote identity verification with ePassport chip reading and liveness detection.
To support the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was established by the Home Office to allow EEA nationals living in the UK to apply for a UK immigration status. Applicants need only to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions. As the Home Office wanted to make the application process as easy as possible for the estimated 3.5 million EEA nationals who would need to apply, they sought out new innovative and effective capabilities to include in an optional end-to-end digital application channel.
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Built on WorldReach’s Know Your Traveller platform, this innovative service is powered by IdentityReach, which reads the ePassport chip’s security features to authenticate the legitimacy of the document. Facial matching is achieved by comparing the secure reference image from the ePassport chip to a live selfie captured by smartphone camera. Genuine presence technology is applied to mitigate attempts at identity fraud. This service supports multiple eIDs including ePassports, UK biometric residence cards and EU citizen eID cards, all using ICAO standards.
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The full public launch, following a three-month beta phase, commenced on March 30, 2019 and included three optional paths for EEA nationals to prove their identity in applying for status: mail-in; visit a local service provider; or a completely digital route. The vast majority chose the digital channel and completed the process successfully, including during COVID-19 closures.
This compares very favourably with the remote digital on-boarding rate achieved in the banking sector. According to Asia Bank Research, participants in their Excellence 2019 programme reported a dropout rate for on-boarding via digital channels as high as 80%. In a SIGNICAT report, the number one reason why banking customers abandoned an application was that “it took too long to complete”.
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