Tens of thousands of EU citizens in Tower Hamlets apply to stay in UK
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 February 2020
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Tens of thousands of EU citizens in Tower Hamlets have applied to live and work in the UK after Brexit, according to the Home Office.
The EU Settlement Scheme allows resident EU and Swiss citizens, plus those from the European Economic Area countries to apply to continue living and working in the UK.
The government has hailed the process as a success, saying it has received more than three million applications so far.
But EU citizens' rights campaign group the3million says even a small percentage of individuals missing out means misery for thousands.
Official figures show that 40,800 applications were made in Tower Hamlets up to the end of last year, of which 37,230 were finalised.
Of those, 16,020 applicants were granted settled status, meaning they have a permanent right to remain in the UK.
A further 20,850 were handed pre-settled status, which gives them permission to keep living in the country and the chance to reapply once they have done so for five years.
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The rest of the applications had other outcomes, such as being refused, withdrawn or void, or invalid.
More than three million EU citizens have applied to live and work in the UK after Brexit, according to the Home Office, and more than 2.7 million have been granted permission to remain.
The national figures cover up to the end of January.
In Tower Hamlets, Italian nationals made the most applications up to the end of December (12,280), followed by people from Spain (4,240).
Across the UK, Polish (512,310), Romanian (435,690) and Italian (290,990) nationals submitted the most applications.
Relatives of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are not from any of those countries themselves but live in the UK under EU law are also allowed to apply.
Successful applicants can stay after the deadline on June 30, 2021 once the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement end.
They can use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits, as well as travel in and out of the country.
In Tower Hamlets, 3,430 applications were from under-18s, while just 270 were from people aged 65 and over.