690 EU citizens in Derbyshire Dales granted settled status to live in UK as application deadline looms
As the application period closes next week week for EU nationals to continue living legally in the UK, hundreds of Derbyshire Dales residents had already been granted permission.
EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years, and meet certain criteria, could receive settled status and remain in the country indefinitely if they apply by Wednesday, June 30.
According to the latest Home Office figures, around 690 local residents had successfully applied up to the end of March – an increase of 60 since the Brexit transition period ended in December.
510 applicants had been granted settled status by March 31, and 180 pre-settled status, indicating they had lived in the UK for less than five years. 20 applications were refused, withdrawn or deemed invalid.
The highest number of applications were submitted by people from Poland (280), followed by Bulgaria, Germany, Spain and Romania (50).
The impending deadline has sparked brought warnings that many people across the UK were at risk of suddenly being reclassed as illegal migrants.
Professor Charlotte O'Brien, of the EU Rights and Brexit Hub at York University, said: “The universal rule of deadlines is that people will miss them and will become, overnight, unauthorised or illegal migrants, subject to a hostile environment and possible removal.
“It means they will go from being lawful, in many cases long-term and economically contributing EU citizens, to people who cannot lawfully work, rent, or even drive a car.”
She added that guidance for caseworkers dealing with late requests was not sufficiently clear and may trigger a "late application lottery".
Across the UK, 385,000 people applied to the EU Settlement Scheme between January and March – down from 855,000 in the three months to December, and 713,000 during the first three months of last year.
Immigration minister Kevin Foster said if an EU resident has “reasonable grounds” for missing the deadline, they will be given further opportunity to apply.
He added: "The Home Office has made up to £22million available in funding for 72 organisations to help vulnerable applicants, and has invested nearly £8m in marketing campaigns to encourage people to apply.”