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Home Secretary announces over 1.8 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, but rights groups concerned by prospect of a no-deal Brexit


the3million says 'no deal' has instilled fear, Public Law Project updates its briefing on EU citizen's rights in event of no deal

Date of Publication:
10 October 2019

Home Secretary announces over 1.8 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, but rights groups concerned by prospect of a no-deal Brexit

10 October 2019

With the outcome of Brexit remaining uncertain ahead of the fast-approaching 31 October deadline, the Home Secretary announced yesterday that there have so far been nearly two million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.

According to Home Office's experimental figures, the total number of applications received up to 30 September 2019 stood at 1,860,200.

The total number of applications that have been concluded, as of 30 September 2019, was 1,524,500. Of those, 61% were granted settled status and 38% were granted pre-settled status.

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 2 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme so that EU citizens can secure their immigration status under UK law."

The EU citizens' group the3million said, however, that applications had spiked in September because the UK government has instilled fear among EU citizens with the prospect of no deal.

Maike Bohn, a spokesperson for the3million, told the Financial Times that the group was also concerned about the large number of people granted pre-settled status, a less secure status which means the holder has residence for five years, but must update it at a later date.

In addition, the3million warned that thousands of EU citizens will unwittingly miss the deadline to apply and the route to secure their status is still unclear. Nicolas Hatton of the3million told the Guardian: "I am talking about elderly residents in care homes, people with disability and simply people who won't know they have to apply."

On Monday, the Public Law Project (PLP) updated its useful briefing on EU citizen's rights if there is a no-deal Brexit. It was first published in early August and has been updated to reflect developments in August and September.

You can download the updated 14-page briefing here.

The briefing describes the law applicable to EU nationals' residing in the UK, or who arrive in the UK, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019. It summarises the position on the basis of the legislative provisions that have been adopted or proposed to date, and Government policy statements.

PLP says that its briefing shows that EU citizens would still lack statutory protection for their rights if the UK exits the EU without a deal.

Writing on Free Movement, PLP's Alexandra Sinclair expressed concern that much of what is recorded about EU citizens' rights is found in government policy documents and explanatory notes rather than in primary or secondary legislation.

Sinclair notes that this means there is a lack certainty as to future arrangements, but she says, overall, the PLP briefing should be of some comfort to EU citizens living in the UK.

"The government has made many statements signalling an intent to protect the rights of those living in the UK prior to exit day," Sinclair writes.

For a detailed overview of the EU Settlement Scheme, see the House of Commons Library's briefing here, which was last updated on 19 September.

It notes: "Importantly, the Government have confirmed the scheme will continue to operate in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and the qualifying conditions will remain the same. Nonetheless, the deadlines to apply to the scheme do vary according to whether there is a deal or no-deal."

If there is a no-deal Brexit, applicants will need to apply by 31 December 2020.