Polish and Romanians top nationalities applying for EU settlement scheme

Catherine Wylie, PA
·2-min read

People from Poland and Romania have made more applications to the EU settlement scheme than any other nationality, figures show.

EU citizens and their families are asked to apply to the Home Office scheme by June in order to carry on living and working in the UK now the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement has ended.

A total of 5,060,600 applications have been received since the scheme opened in March 2019, according to provisional Home Office figures to the end of January.

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More than 2.4 million of those (2,497,600) have been granted settled status, allowing them permanent leave to remain.

A further two million (2,039,800) have been granted pre-settled status, meaning they need to reapply after living in the country for five years to gain permanent residence.

Meanwhile, 38,900 applications have been refused, 51,400 were withdrawn or void and 50,600 were deemed invalid – where the Home Office decides someone is not eligible to apply or has failed to provide sufficient proof of residence.

As of December 31 2020, 4,916,280 applications had been received, with 90% received in England, 5% in Scotland, 2% in Wales and 2% in Northern Ireland, according to Home Office figures published on Thursday.

In total, there were 4,569,010 applications received from EU nationals, 45,550 received from other EEA and Swiss nationals and 301,660 received from non-EEA nationals.

The top nationalities to apply were Polish (911,240), Romanian (836,980), Italian (472,300), Portuguese (354,190) and Spanish (301,790).

The Home Office said the top five nationalities combined represented around 60% of applications received.

Polish and Romanian nationals were consistently among the highest application numbers within England, Scotland and Wales, while in Northern Ireland it was Polish and Lithuanian nationals who accounted for the largest number of applications.

Minister for future borders and immigration Kevin Foster said: “European citizens are our friends, family and neighbours which is why I’m really proud we’ve already surpassed five million applications to the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme.

“I would urge all those eligible to apply now to secure their status in UK law.

“The scheme is designed to be simple and straightforward but support is available seven days a week by telephone and by email, and we’ve funded 72 organisations across the UK to provide assistance to those who need help applying.”