Thousands of EU nationals apply for settled status in town
PUBLISHED: 13:45 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:45 11 February 2020
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Thousands of European nationals applied for settled status in a Norfolk seaside town in the run-up to the UK's departure from the European Union.
From August 2018 to December 2019, a total of 4,180 applications were submitted to the Home Office within the Great Yarmouth local authority.
The vast majority of the applicants were in the 18 to 64 age category, however 760 applications were made by under-18s and 80 by those aged 65 and over.
The highest number of EU applicants - with a total of 1,600 - came from Portugal. This was followed by Lithuania with 1,110 applicants and Romania with 390.
Other nationalities featuring heavily on the list were Polish, Latvian, Slovak and Bulgarian applicants.
Under the scheme, successful applicants can receive either 'Settled' or 'Pre-Settled' status. The former applies when someone has lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period, and the latter when someone has lived here for fewer than five.
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Successful applicants can stay after the deadline on June 30, 2021, once the Brexit transition period has ended and freedom of movement is stopped.
Security minister and MP for Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis, said: "I'm really proud that the EU Settlement Scheme has now had more than three million applications. EU citizens are an integral part of our society, culture and community, and this is their home."
Of the applications submitted across Great Yarmouth, 2,430 individuals received settled status, 1,110 pre-settled status and 20 cases were regarded as having "other outcomes" during the 16-month period.
This likely means that those applications were rejected due to their being 'void', withdrawn or ineligible.
According to EU citizens' rights campaign group "the3million", even a small percentage of individuals missing out will mean misery for thousands.
There have also been concerns raised by the charity Unlock which advocates on behalf of those with convictions.
An Unlock report from September 2019 expresses that the need for those applying for settled status to "declare their convictions" might leave them vulnerable to being denied status due to their "unsuitability".
It stresses that "EU citizens may face deportation action for historic offences" and "the UK has a lower threshold for deportation and exclusion than the more permissive current EU law."