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Smiling stock photo actors used in post-Brexit immigration scheme advert

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A dozen smiling people featured in a Brexit advert by the government have been revealed as models posing for a stock photo.

The video – released by the Home Office on Twitter – told EU citizens what they needed to do to stay in the UK after Brexit.

It gave them details of the “settled status scheme”, the new way those from the continent already living in Britain will be categorised for immigration purposes.

Families, workers and groups of young friends were used to illustrate the video.

But one Twitter user identified the pictures as stock photos – generic images created for use by the media and advertisers – and accused the government of using actors because it was “too ashamed of what you were doing to ask people to pose for them”.

Known simply as “The Irish Border”, the social media user accused the Home Office of “boasting about an empty win with empty images”, adding: “This is pure Brexit.”

The opening photo shows a group of five friends sitting round a table drinking beer and eating food.

The same image is used by an Australian bank to promote its services on Facebook, in an ad posted in October.

Seconds into the video, a photo of a mother helping her daughter learn to read is used to illustrate information about the new immigration scheme.

That photo is also used in an online literacy portal.

The observant Twitter user also noticed: “These EU nationals, tech savvy as they are, are filled with joyous wonder at the ease with which they can apply online to stay in the UK.

“Their wonder is really quite similar to the wonder they showed when they applied for a sustainable technology grant in Canada.”

Some questioned the criticism, one social media user writing: “So? It’s a stock photo, you realise? Why is that a surprise or wrong?”

Another said: “It’s cus they are stock photos, purchased for a few quid + can be bought by many.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is vital that EU citizens and their family members know their rights and entitlements are protected, and understand what to do when the settlement scheme goes live in March 2019.

“Official communications throughout 2018 have been pointing people towards reliable sources of information on gov.uk.”

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