Drive to encourage EU nationals to secure post-Brexit status

By Hayden Smith, Press Association Home Affairs Correspondent

A multimillion-pound publicity drive encouraging EU nationals to secure their post-Brexit status will be launched on Monday.

Adverts on billboards and at bus stops and railway stations will be rolled out across the country ahead of the full opening of the Home Office’s settlement scheme this weekend.

The month-long marketing campaign, which has been allocated around £3.75 million, will be visible at 6,000 sites and in every major UK city.

Adverts will also run on catch-up TV, radio, social media and online.

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Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “It is my priority to make sure that EU citizens, who have built their lives here and who have contributed so much to our society, continue to feel welcome in the UK.

“That is why I am launching this UK-wide campaign, which will include billboards and radio advertising, so that everyone who is eligible knows how to apply and gets the status they need.

“I want EU citizens to stay and to continue to call the UK their home and I would encourage all EU citizens to apply once the scheme goes live.”

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The launch represents a ramping up of the Government’s efforts to raise awareness of the process for securing post-Brexit immigration status.

From Saturday, the Home Office’s EU settlement scheme will be fully open following test phases during which nearly 200,000 people have received status.

EU nationals and their family members who have lived continuously in the UK for five years can obtain settled status, meaning they are free to go on living and working in the UK indefinitely.

People with less than five years’ residence can apply for pre-settled status, which can later be converted into settled status.

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The Government has designed an online application platform from scratch.

Applicants are asked to prove their identity, declare any criminal convictions and upload a facial photograph.

Officials check employment and benefits data to confirm proof of residence and all applications are run through UK criminality and security databases.

Government estimates indicate that between 3.5 million and 4 million European Economic Area citizens will be eligible to apply, and the Home Office has assigned over 1,500 caseworkers to the scheme.

The deadline for applying will be June 30 2021, or December 31 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.