EU Settlement Scheme: 170,000 applications made after deadline

Union Jack and EU Flags
Union Jack and EU Flags

EU citizens and their families were asked to apply by June 30 in order to carry on living and working in the UK

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More than 170,000 applications have been made to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline passed, new figures suggest.

EU citizens and their families were asked to apply by June 30 in order to carry on living and working in the UK, after freedom of movement ended following the Brexit transition period.

According to provisional Home Office figures, 172,200 applications were received after the deadline and up to the end of September.

Since the scheme launched in March 2019, more than six million applications (6,223,100) have been submitted.

More than three million of those (3,027,300) were granted settled status, allowing them permanent leave to remain.

A further 2.4 million (2,441,200) have been permitted pre-settled status, meaning they need to reapply after living in the country for five years to gain permanent residence.

The Home Office said 8% of the applications were from “repeat applicants” (472,220) – suggesting an estimated 5.5 million people had applied to the scheme before the deadline.

Some 165,600 applications were refused, 99,700 were withdrawn or void, and 89,200 were deemed invalid – where the Home Office decides someone is not eligible to apply or has failed to provide sufficient proof of residence.

The applications received after June 30 will include a mix of late submissions, those from family members, and requests to move from pre-settled to settled status, the Government department said.

It is not known how many people in the UK are eligible for the scheme but could remain in the country undocumented.

Anyone who is yet to apply effectively lost their lawful immigration status after the deadline. This could prevent them getting a new job or moving house until their status is confirmed.

There are limited reasonable grounds for submitting late applications, including where parents, guardians or councils have failed to apply on behalf of a child; those with serious medical conditions preventing them from applying in time; or “compelling or compassionate reasons” in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government said there is no cut-off point for submitting late applications and insisted that those who applied by the deadline but have yet to receive a decision will have their existing rights protected, subject to the outcome of the application and any appeal.

However, those who do not apply and continue to live in the UK without being able to prove their immigration status have been warned they could face enforcement action.

The Home Office said it has made available a further £3 million to help “vulnerable and at-risk EU citizens” apply to the scheme, including those who have “language barriers or limited access to IT”.