EU citizens living in the UK post-Brexit are eligible for financial assistance to return to their home country under a scheme set up to encourage people to do just that.
Since 1 January, EU citizens have been covered by the British government’s voluntary return program, which offers incentives including air tickets and up to £2,000 (2,257 euros) to enable them to resettle elsewhere, the Guardian reported Tuesday.
The program already existed for migrants from other parts of the world and was extended to European nationals.
“Some EU citizens may not want to stay in the UK. That’s why they can now get help under the voluntary return programme,” a government spokesman told The Guardian.
Those who opt to stay currently have until 30 June to ensure they have applied for the EU settlement scheme in order to stay and work in the United Kingdom. Otherwise, they will be considered illegal and potentially liable to prosecution if they continue to live or work in the country.
While the UK government said it has been doing everything to ensure people are aware of what is required of them, a report found that many Europeans were not aware or were unsure what they had to do to be allowed to stay.
According to the report – titled When the Clapping Stops: EU Care Workers After Brexit – thousands of key workers in the UK currently risk losing their right to work, including many workers in the NHS.
“If even a tiny fraction of the estimated EEA+ (EU, EEA and Swiss) residents are unable to apply in time, tens of thousands will lose their status overnight.” the report, by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JWCI) warns.
This depiction was dismissed as misleading by UK immigration minister, Kevin Foster, who said that there have been almost 4.9m applications for the “hugely successful EU settlement scheme,” the Guardian reports.
The Brussels Times