Home Office’s Brexit advert banned for ‘misleading’ EU citizens

 A woman is seen holding a flag of the EU in front of the monument at the Poulaert square during the protest. A day before the anniversary of the founding Treaty of the European Union, citizens and civil society organizations took the streets of Brussels to make a stand, two months before the European elections. The march was organized by together platform, an initiative launched by an alliance of progressive political groups from across Europe. They stand for solidarity, democracy, and peace against the real threat to their core European values. (Photo by Ana Fernandez / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

An advert that advised EU citizens how to remain in the UK after Brexit has been banned for being 'misleading'.

The campaign for the Government's EU Settlement Scheme failed to make it clear to applicants they would need other documents in addition to a passport or ID card to apply, according to a decision by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The radio advert, heard in April, said: "If you're an EU citizen living in the UK, you will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

"The scheme is fully open and you have plenty of time to apply.

"It is free and all you need is your passport or ID card and to complete an online form."

The ASA said it understood applicants in 27% of decided adult cases had been asked to provide additional documents as evidence of residence.

The scheme aims to help EU citizens and their families live and work in the UK after freedom of movement ends.

General view of passengers going through UK Border at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport.

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

A complainant who heard the advert said they understood that in come cases applicants also needed to provide proof of address covering the previous five years and challenged whether the ad was misleading.

The Home Office said it 'completely disagreed' with the ASA decision, saying at no point was any applicant to the EU Settlement Scheme asked to provide proof of address as part of the application process.

It added, however, that it was not possible in the format of the advert to "cover all eventualities".

The Home Office said in 73% of cases applicants did not have to submit any documents as evidence of their residence.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said the advert referred to the minimum documents required to complete the initial application form and listeners would infer these were all they would need to complete the entire process of applying for EU settled status.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY JULY 17 File photo dated 29/04/18 of the sign outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, as it has been told to come up with a "plan B" in case a new emergency services communication system that has been plagued by delays is no longer value for money.

It said: "Listeners would likely understand that an official application process of this nature would always require some applicants to provide further information in exceptional cases.

"However, we understood that in 27% of decided adult cases, applicants had been asked to provide additional documents as evidence of residence.

"Furthermore, some applicants were also asked for other documents, such as evidence of a family relationship."

It added: "While we acknowledged that applicants were not required specifically to submit 'proof of address' (as referenced by the complainant), some were required to submit further documents beyond those stated in the ad.

"We considered that the actual proportion who were asked to submit further documents was likely to go beyond what the audience was likely to understand from the claim.

A protester seen holding a placard that says �Brexit means Brexit" during the Leave means leave rally in London. A Leave means leave pro Brexit march begun on March 16 in Sunderland, UK and ended with a rally in Parliament Square on March 29 in London, same day that UK has been scheduled to leave the European Union. Pro Brexit protesters gathered at Parliament Square to demand from the government to deliver what was promised and leave the European Union without a deal. Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson were seen giving speeches to their supporters in different stages during the pro Brexit protest. (Photo by Andres Pantoja / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

"In that context, we considered that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that, in some cases, applicants would need to supply documents beyond their passport or ID card."

The ASA ruled the advert must not be broadcast again in the form complained about, adding: "We told the Home Office to ensure they made sufficiently clear that some applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme would need to provide additional documents beyond their passport or ID card."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We completely disagree with the ASA's decision.

"The campaign was factual and complied with all necessary clearance processes for radio advertising.

"The campaign has had a positive impact and encouraged more than one million successful applications so far.

"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."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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