Great Yarmouth's Portuguese residents' share love for 'second home'
- Credit: James Weeds
Great Yarmouth's Portuguese residents have shared their love for their "second home" after figures showed more than 8,000 EU nationals have been granted permission to stay in the town.
Home Office data shows 8,230 EU citizens had successfully applied to continue living in Great Yarmouth by June 30.
The EU Settlement scheme launched in March 2019 to regulate the immigration status of European citizens who live in the UK.
Around 1,360 applications were submitted in the last three months of the scheme being open – 14pc of all requests received in Great Yarmouth.
The main nationalities to apply were from Portugal, Romania and Lithuania - with more than 3,500 applications from Portuguese people.
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Dulce Duca is a circus performer with Out There Arts.
She moved to Great Yarmouth in 2018 to be closer to her partner and also because the town is "the epicenter of circus in the UK".
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"I thought 'what better place to be'," Miss Duca said.
"I love the town's art scene.
"Great Yarmouth has a great potential to be a creative town.
"There are a lot of artists and artistic spaces like the Out There Arts Centre, the Hippodrome, St Georges Theatre and galleries.
"I love how that it's transforming Great Yarmouth and allowing it to became a singular, unique and strong place to be."
Mara Carmo, who manages M and M Cafe Bar on King Street, has lived in the town for five years.
Miss Carmo, 31, originally moved from Portugal to London, but she left a good job to move somewhere quiet to start a family.
"I had friends already in the town as well," she said.
"Me and my partner always wanted to start a business and it is easier to start something in Yarmouth compared to London.
"It's fine here. We have a life, a job and a home.
"But we have a mission with our business, and then we will enjoy ourselves."
Jose Santos, 42, moved from Portugal in 2001.
He started his life in the town working for Bernard Matthews, but eventually decided to go into business.
"I came to Great Yarmouth to make money," Mr Santos said.
"But It’s also a second home. It's quiet enough, but I love how things are constantly changing, especially over the past two years.
Luisa Ventura, 45 owns Coffee Ventura on Bridge Road and another on King Street.
Miss Ventura has been a Yarmouth resident for for five years, but her boyfriend has lived locally for 14.
"I originally came for my boyfriend, but we decided to start a cafe and decided to try and build that," she said.
"I like the town a lot. It's my second home. I think King Street could be a bit better.
"Most people are great, but some can be a little disrespectful of businesses here.
"My customers come from so many different countries."
EU citizens with limited reasonable grounds for missing the June deadline can still apply to secure their rights.
Those who have lived in the UK for five years and meet the criteria, can receive settled status and remain in the country indefinitely.
Others who have lived in the country for less time can receive pre-settled status, which allows them to remain for a further five years. They can later apply for settled status.
Some citizens who are not from the European Economic Area, may also qualify for the scheme, for example if they are family members of EU citizens living in the UK.
The government said those who applied to the scheme by the June 30 deadline, but have not had a decision, have their rights protected until their application is decided.
Kevin Foster, minister for future borders and immigration, said: "I'm delighted thousands more people have been rightly granted status through the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme.
"We continue to work as quickly as possible to conclude applications, as well as supporting people with their late applications.
“Our message remains clear. The Home Office is looking for reasons to grant status rather than refuse.
"I would encourage anyone eligible who is yet to apply to get in touch and join the millions who have already secured their rights.”