AFTER the scandal affecting the Windrush generation, it is unsurprising that many people fear the worst as public testing phase of the settlement scheme for EU nationals gets under way today. Even if justification might be imagined at a stretch, something tawdry and a little shameful hangs over this project. It seems to fit that peculiar climate of resentment that has grown in Britain in recent years.

If one were being particularly generous, it might be possible to argue that, with all the impending Brexit uncertainty, at least having residency “settled” would be a relief for EU citizens who have made this country their home. Now they will be able to suffer equally with the rest of their fellow residents in Britain.

Some say the fears are exaggerated, and express scepticism about skilled workers in particular being unable to find a £65 fee. But there is more to this than cost. It is about people who work here, contribute to their communities, and pay more in taxes than they take out in services, being made to feel second-class.

There are also concerns that some people will “fall through the cracks”, particularly with the scheme’s sub-text that says: “Trust the Home Office.” Problems might arise with documentation, awareness of the scheme, even app savviness. Concerns have already been expressed for the elderly, children in care, victims of domestic abuse.

The UK Government has to get this right. It has to avoid the bureaucratic inhumanity that has characterised its tenure, particularly as regards Windrush and welfare sanctions. It is encouraging that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has promised that the default position will be to grant settled status.

Let us hope the bureaucrats bear this in mind. They are promising to process 6,000 applications a day. People with a right to stay here are being asked to prove it. The Home Office promises this will be “easy and straightforward”. Good. Prove it.