Applications to UK's EU Settlement Scheme top 4.2 million

Almost one million more EU citizens have applied to stay in the UK after Brexit than had been expected as applications hit 4.2 million

  • EU citizens living in UK have until June 30 next year to apply for settled status
  • The UK’s EU Settlement Scheme has now had more than 4.2 million applications 
  • Official estimates had previously suggested there were 3.4m EU citizens in UK

Almost one million more EU citizens living in the UK have applied for the right to stay in the country after Brexit than had originally been expected.

The Government’s EU Settlement Scheme has now received more than 4.2 million applications, with the overwhelming majority being approved. 

An official population snapshot taken in June 2019 had suggested there were 3.4 million EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK. 

Immigration experts have previously criticised the quality of the Government’s data relating to the EU Settlement Scheme. 

They argued it is difficult to know exactly how many European citizens are currently resident in the country and therefore it is hard to determine whether the initiative is working as well as it should.  

Under the scheme, EU citizens in the UK have until June 30 next year to apply for the right to continue living and working in the country.        

Priti Patel’s Home Office today announced that the EU Settlement Scheme has now received more than 4.2 million applications 

Forced deportations of foreign nationals from the UK plummeted to their lowest level in 16 years this year, official figures show.

Some 5,208 people were removed from Britain against their wishes in the year to June, a 34 per cent drop from the same period the previous year.

It was the lowest number reported since records began in 2004.

The Home Office said the fall was down to a drop in the number of deportations of people being held in detention centres.

‘Although the number of enforced returns has been declining since 2013, the fall in the latest year was larger due to very few returns in the latest quarter (April to June 2020), which occurred as a result of to the Covid-19 pandemic’, it said.

Over the same period, there were 8,254 voluntary returns. There were also 13,436 passengers who were refused entry at UK ports and subsequently departed. The number was 33 per cent lower than year ending June 2019, with Covid again begin blamed, due to a cut in international travel.

The latest statistics published by the Home Office show the total number of applications received up to October 31 of this year was 4.26 million.

Meanwhile, the total number of applications which have been concluded up to the same date was just over 4.07 million.  

Of those, some 3.9 million applications came from EU citizens living in England, 214,700 from Scotland, 70,800 from Wales and 69,300 from Northern Ireland. 

Some 55 per cent of concluded applications were granted settled status and 42 per cent were granted pre-settled status.

Just 0.6 per cent of applications were refused – some 22,400.

People are eligible for settled status if they started living in the UK before December 31, 2020, and had lived there for a continuous five year period.  

Those granted settled status will be allowed to stay in the UK for as long as they want.    

People are eligible for pre-settled status if they do not have five years’ continuous residence but were living in the UK before December 31, 2020. 

Those granted pre-settled status will be allowed to stay in the UK for a further five years and they can then apply for settled status.

An Office for National Statistics estimate suggested there were 3.4 million EU, EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK in June 2019. 

Meanwhile, a Home Office impact assessment from March 2019 gave an estimate of between 3.5million and 4.1million.          

Immigration experts said back in April of this year that gaps in Government data were making it difficult to know whether the scheme was working. 

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford warned that without ‘significant investments in new official data, there will be no way of verifying’ whether the scheme was reaching its goal of helping EU citizens to settle in the UK.

The Observatory expressed concerns that ‘some people will fall through the cracks’ of the scheme and ‘it will be very hard to know to what extent this has happened’ without improved data. 

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