More than 6 million European Union citizens applied to settle in the UK before the end-June deadline that the British government had imposed as part of the country’s departure from the bloc.
In a statement on Friday, Britain’s Home Office said of the 6.02 million people who had applied, 400,000 applications were made in the final month before the end of the EU Settlement Scheme.
“Having more than 6 million applications to the scheme is an unprecedented achievement and I am delighted that we have secured the rights of so many EU citizens — our friends, neighbors and family members," Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
The Home Office said that the 570,000 people with pending applications will have their rights protected until their application is decided and that there will be “indefinite scope” for anyone who missed the deadline to make a late application.
People who submitted an application by the deadline have received a certification that they can use if they need to prove their immigration status for any reason, such as taking up a new job or renting a property.
The scheme was introduced in March 2019 as part of the UK’s plans to leave the EU. One of the main impacts of Brexit was the end of freedom of movement, whereby anyone in any EU state can live and work anywhere else within the bloc, which numbers 27 countries after the UK’s departure.
Under the scheme, EU citizens in the country will be guaranteed their rights, including access to benefits and healthcare, in the UK. Any EU citizen who hasn’t applied could now potentially lose their rights or even be subject to deportation.
Similar schemes have been in place in the EU with regard to the 1 million or so British citizens who live within the bloc. Those applying for post-Brexit residency permits in France also faced a deadline on Wednesday.
One key concern is that the immigration policy could leave a disastrous legacy similar to Britain’s “Windrush” scandal, when many people from the Caribbean who legally settled in the UK decades ago were wrongly caught up in tough new government rules to crack down on illegal immigration.
Many in the “Windrush generation” — named after the ship that carried the first post-war migrants from the West Indies — lost their homes and jobs or were even deported simply because they couldn’t produce paperwork proving their residency rights.
Traffickers seen targeting EU citizens in UK as post-Brexit deadline loomsHuman traffickers will target and exploit vulnerable European Union (EU) citizens in Britain who fail to meet a deadline to apply for post-Brexit ... World News
EU chief says will act ‘firmly and resolutely’ if UK fails to honor Brexit dealThe European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator says the bloc is ready to act “firmly and resolutely” if the UK fails to honor its commitments under the ... World News
UK violated human rights with bulk intercepts, European rights court rulesThe European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that the United Kingdom had breached fundamental human rights with its bulk interception of ... World News
Don’t blame Brexit for Eurovision failure, says UK senior ministerThe UK’s crushing nul points at the Eurovision Song Contest last weekend was down to the poor selection process, not bad blood over Brexit, a senior ... Entertainment
EU files lawsuit against UK for Brexit deal delaysThe European Union said Monday it is starting legal action against the United Kingdom, arguing it does not respect the conditions of the Brexit ... World News
UK’s FM says EU threat of COVID-19 vaccine export ban breaks assurancesBritish foreign minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday said that the European Commission’s threat to ban exports of COVID-19 exports cut across previous ... Coronavirus