EU citizens living in the UK had until the end of June to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, otherwise known as ‘EUSS’.
The scheme was designed to allow EU migrants living and working in Britain to continue to do so by being granted ‘settled status’ by the Home Office. In total over 6 million people applied to the EUSS, more than double what the government initially expected.
According to a report in the Mail Online, around 60,000 EU citizens failed to apply to the EUSS prior to the June 30th deadline. The UK government only allows applications to be considered after the deadline under exceptional circumstances. This means tens of thousands of EU citizens living in the UK are now at risk of action against them, though this has not been confirmed by the government.
In total, 109,400 applications put forward were rejected by the government and 80,800 were withdrawn. Another 79,000 were invalid as the Home Office required additional information or proof of address.
The guidance set out by Coventry council states that EU citizens living in the UK who did not sign up to the EUSS are now at risk of Home Office enforcement action, losing access to employment and benefits and would now be classified as “unlawfully present” in the United Kingdom.
They said: “If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and have not made an application to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021, you will become unlawfully present and will be at risk of losing access to employment and benefits, as well as being subject to other sanctions, such as being unable to rent from a private landlord in England or get free secondary healthcare. You could also be subject to Home Office enforcement action.”
A similar scheme for British citizens living and working in the European Union occurred.
Kevin Foster, the immigration minister, said: “I’m delighted thousands more EU citizens have had their status secured through our hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme and we continue to work as quickly as possible to conclude all applications received.
“EU citizens in the UK can still make a late application to secure their rights and join the millions who have already been granted status under the EUSS.”