The spreading pandemic of coronavirus has impacted everyone around the world. First world nations in the EU have suffered as well. Migrants in the UK on Tier 1 Investor, Sole representative visa, Tier 2 general, Tier 2 intra company transfers, dependents of points based system migrants and also the EEA Family Permit holders and EU nationals living in UK have been impacted, businesses and individuals are finding their lives upended.
Read: What to expect after Brexit
Amidst these events UK Home Secretary has been urged by the people to extend the June 2021 deadline for EU nationals to apply for settled status to remain in the UK after Brexit as there has been a significant drop in the number of applicants since the beginning of the outbreak.
The published Home Office statistics show 47% drop in numbers in February, even the successful settled status applications were also down 47% to 77,800, while the pre-settled status applications fell 45% over the month to 62,600.
Though the Home Office says that the government’s staff is working online from home – the situation is becoming untenable for the Home Office to process applications from estimated 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK by the deadline, given the extreme backlog of more than 320,000 applications still to be dealt with.
A recent report from Oxford University cautioned that the Home Office may be underestimating the number of EU nationals in the UK. The recent numbers confirm that the Polish citizens were the largest group applying for settled status, followed by Romanians, Italians and Portuguese.
As per the recent numbers out of the 3.1 million concluded cases, 58% were granted permanent residency with settled status and 41% pre-settled status, which would require them to reapply within 5 years or instead they would lose their right to stay in the UK. There are approx. 23,900 applications which were withdrawn and 10,000 are invalid having 600 refused. There has been requests for the extension of the implementation period however late applicants can apply if they meet with the reasonable grounds to apply for the same. However no specific guideline is published outlining the same.
The current crisis has cast the spotlight on the enormous contribution from the EU citizens in UK various aspects from public services to economy and society. It was telling that the NHS staff looking after British Prime Minister were migrants or outside the UK.
The crisis calls for the government to take in to account the circumstances for the thousands of people so they are not left undocumented, risking eviction or detention or worse deportation. As the government has shown its ability to automatically grant extensions to applicants in country on temporary visas unable to return home, it should consider doing so for the EU nationals too.
If you are an EU national residing in the UK or have a family member on EEA family permit or extended family member applying for EEA Family permit and would like to apply for settled status or pre settled status in the UK, you can contact our UK EEA family Expert on the below mentioned contact details.
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