Brexit: Over five million EU citizens apply for UK settled status, figures show

Brexit: How to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme

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This is thought to be around double the number believed to be living in Britain before the Brexit referendum. Home Office data showed a discrepancy between the number of EU citizens applying for settled status and the estimated number of people living in the UK before the Brexit vote in 2016.

The data shows 5.4 million EU citizens have applied for settled status before this year’s June 30 deadline.

Around 4.9 million of those who applied for settled status have been granted it.

Ahead of the June 30 deadline for applicants, the Home Office has urged EU citizens living in the UK to apply for the scheme.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said: “The Government is committed to making sure everybody eligible for the scheme can apply, including those who are the most vulnerable or need extra support.”

However the figures do not match the Government’s estimated number of European nationals in the country.

In 2016, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) held 3,182,000 EU nationals lived in the UK, making up roughly 5 percent of the country.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Commons liaison committee, welcomed news of the high number of applicants.

He told the Telegraph: “It is a welcome surprise that so many EU nationals want to stay in Brexit Britain.

“But it underlines why Priti Patel and the new permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft are substantially strengthening the capability of the department to deal with challenges like this.”

It comes after ministers condemned Border Force for detaining EU citizens who arrive in the UK without proper paperwork.

The Home Office promptly told officials to, where appropriate, grant EU nationals immigration bail instead if they are refused entry to the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “While international travel is disrupted due to the pandemic, we have updated our guidance to clarify that overseas nationals, including EU citizens, who have been refused entry to the UK and are awaiting removal, should be granted immigration bail, where appropriate.

“Now freedom of movement has ended, people from across the EU can continue to visit the UK, but those coming to work or study must meet our entry requirements and we urge them to check before travelling.”

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