EU settled status scheme tops two million

Plus, a series of government-sponsored events to provide information about the scheme are to take place in across the UK. David Sapsted reports.

EU and UK Union Jack flag
The prospect of an October 31 Brexit has led to a surge in the number of EU nationals applying to remain legally in the UK under the government's EU Settlement Scheme.

UK Home Office settled status figures

Figures released by the Home Office on Wednesday showed that, by the end of September, 1,860,200 applications had been received from nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.But officials said that so far this month, the total had passed the two million mark, even though continental citizens have until the end of next year to apply under the scheme.Home Secretary Priti Patel said, "EU citizens have made a huge contribution to this country and will play a key role in cementing Britain’s status as an outward-looking, global leader after Brexit."That is why I am thrilled that we have had two million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme so that EU citizens can secure their immigration status under UK law."It is believed the continuing threat of a no-deal Brexit has prompted the rush of applications among the estimated 3.4 million EU nationals living in the UK. In September alone, some 520,600 applications were made.

Home Office classifies these settled status application figures as "experimental"

The figures are classed as 'experimental' because the scheme is still in the testing phase and not fully developed so should be “treated with caution”, according to the Home Office.The scheme asks applicants to prove their identity, demonstrate they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
By the end of last month, 1,524,500 applications had been finalised by the Home Office, with 61% being granted full settled status and 38% being granted pre-settled status, which can be transferred to full status once an applicant has lived in the country continuously for five years.

Where were the EU applicants for UK settled status from?

More than 1.7 million applications were received from people living in England, while 92,700 were received from Scotland, 29,300 from Wales and 28,700 from Northern Ireland. The largest number of applicants came from Polish people (347,300) followed by Romanians (280,600) and Italians (200,700).Once approved, EEA and Swiss nationals will be entitled to live, work and study in the UK, and access the National Health Service and public benefits, as well as travel in and out of the country.A series of government-sponsored events to provide information about the scheme are to take place in London, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham, the Home Office said. There will also be more adverts in the coming weeks as part of a £4 million marketing campaign.Officials hope the meetings will go some way to answering concerns that the estimated 118,000 EU nationals in the country aged over 65 could miss out on the scheme because both applications and most advertising is conducted online.Age UK has written to the Home Office saying it remains "deeply worried" the government's messages on the scheme would not reach older people and warned many would struggle to use the online application form.“A compulsory Settlement Scheme, designed to operate mostly online and with potentially dire consequences for anyone who fails to comply with it, spells big trouble ahead we fear for thousands of older people who have lived for donkey’s years in this country," said Caroline Abrahams, Age UK director.

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