Guardian News / YouTube

We've all been there, scrambling to get documentation together whether it's for a move, a large purchase or traveling abroad.

But try as we might to be prepared, sometimes the very thing that gets in the way is something we have no control over: a technological glitch.


Giovanni Palmiero, a 101-year-old Italian man who moved to London back in 1966, was completing the required paperwork to continue his stay in London.

When he attempted to enter his passport information, however, the Home Office system failed to recognize the last two digits of the year of his birth.

When the system populated with his information, instead of stating he was born in 1919, it instead read 2019, rendering Palmiero a one-year-old child in the system.

To make matters worse, because the system recognized him as 12 or younger, the Home Office required Palmiero's parents to be present to verify his personal information.

Dimitri Scarlato, a volunteer at the Home Office, was assisting Palmiero with supplying his information and scanning in his documents when the error occurred.

Scarlato later explained:

"I immediately noticed that something was wrong because when I scanned in his passport, it imported his biometric data not as 1919 but as 2019. It then skipped the face recognition section which is what it does with under-12s."

Scarlato also said it required going through several administrative hoops before the error in the system could be manually corrected.

Scarlato stated:

"I was surprised. I phoned the Home Office and it took two calls and a half an hour for them to understand it was the app's fault not mine."

The Home Office was then able to accept Palmiero's status and accepted his personal information over the phone, which they manually entered into the system. As of last Thursday, he has the green light to complete his application as a 101-year-old resident.

However, the system now requires documentation that Palmiero has lived in the country for at least five years in order to be accepted.

You can see additional news coverage from The Guardian here:

Palmiero's son, Assuntino, has been thoroughly aggravated by the situation, considering Palmiero's long history in the U.K., as well as how difficult he believes the system is for the elderly to comply with.

Assuntino explained:

"It's like a humiliation, you've been here so long and then all of a sudden this happens. I am not worried about him because he has got us but it's completely unfair on old people."
"It is more of a hassle than anything else. He is not going to be chucked out, but people of his age should not have to go through this process. They should just get it automatically. They should have a system for people who were here before 1973 and just post the documents out."
"They say you have to prove you have been here that long, but come on, they have HMRC records, council tax records. My parents are being sent their pensions, so how come they can't find him on the system? If they wanted to check, they could easily."

Folks on Twitter have been flabbergasted as well, expressing their frustration on Palmiero's behalf.





It seems Palmiero has since supplied all the necessary documents, and the Home Office claims it is currently processing the application.

Ah, the unforeseen complications of living past 100 years old.

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