6m EU citizens apply for UK settlement

Photo: EPA

UK announced it had received six million applications over its settlement scheme for EU nationals by the campaign deadline on 30 June, Reuters reported. London elaborated that only in the last 30 days prior the deadline were received 400,000 applications.

After the completion of the Brexit process UK introduced a new immigration system targeted at EU nationals who were given the opportunity they were living in Britain before 31 December, 2020 in order to keep the right to work, study and access social benefits.

"I am delighted that we have secured the rights of so many EU citizens - our friends, neighbours and family members," interior minister Priti Patel said. Some 4% of concluded applications have either been refused, withdrawn or invalid. The rest were either accepted as settled or 'pre-settled', meaning residency rights were retained.

An intensive public campaign to remind and urge people to apply raised concerns that some eligible residents may lack knowledge of the scheme, or lacked the ability to submit an application. The number of people who failed to apply prior the deadline is uncertain, as are full details how the government will handle their cases. Those citizens will be granted a 28-day notice if they fail to apply for settled status, but after that they will not be allowed to work or have access to benefits and will lose the right to services such as free non-urgent healthcare.

The government has repeatedly noted that it would look to grant status, rather than look for reasons to refuse it to EU citizens, and confirmed that the 28-day notice should not be seen as a point when individuals are liable to be removed from Britain.

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