Half million EU citizens have yet to apply for UK residence after Brexit
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    Half million EU citizens have yet to apply for UK residence after Brexit

    Of the applications that have been processed so far, almost 60% of EU citizens were granted a permanent residence status. Credit: Belga

    About half a million EU-citizens living in the United Kingdom still have to apply for a residence permit, which they need to be able to keep living in the UK after Brexit.

    The approximately 3.5 million EU citizens who live and often work in the UK can apply for a residence permit so that they can stay there after the end of this year. The application for such a “settled status” is free of charge.

    About 3 million EU citizens and their family members have already applied, but half a million people have yet to do so, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. Those who do not apply for a residence status on time, risk being deported from the country after the end of 2020.

    “It’s the biggest scheme of its kind in British history, and means that EU citizens can evidence their rights for decades to come,” said Interior minister Priti Patel, reports Reuters. “It’s now time for EU countries to adopt a similar scheme,” she added.

    Of the applications that have been processed so far, almost 60% of EU citizens were granted permanent residence, or “settled status.” To be given that status, the applicant must have lived in the UK continuously for at least five years, and started living there before 31 December 2020. Anyone with a settled status, can stay in the UK as long as they want, and can also apply for British citizenship, if they are eligible, according to the UK government.

    Slightly more than 40% were given temporary permission to stay, or a “pre-settled status”, which can later be converted into a permanent one. As soon as they have fulfilled the five years of continuous residence requirement, they can submit an application.

    Theoretically, Brexit happened on 31 January, but the UK will remain in a transition period until the end of 2020, and the future trade relationship between the UK and the EU will now be negotiated.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times