Some 9,700 Cypriot citizens in the UK have applied for settled status which is needed to remain in the country long-term after Brexit’s transitional period expires at the end of 2020.
Settled status is a special immigration category set up by the British government for nationals from EU member states. The scheme was launched nationally in March 2019 and the deadline is June 2021.
EU citizens who have completed five years of residence in the UK are entitled to be considered as ‘settled’. And those who have lived there for less than five years are considered as ‘pre-settled’ and allowed to stay for five years so as to upgrade their immigration status.
The month of December 2019 recorded a total of 800 ‘settled’ applications by Cypriots in the UK. The month with most applications by both Cypriots (2,400) and other Europeans was last October, when a no-deal Brexit became highly probable.
Most applications, specifically over 510,000, were submitted by Poles, followed by Romanians and Italians with approximately 435,000 and 290,000 respectively.
A total of 2,756,100 applications have been submitted by citizens of EU countries and the European Economic Area, of which 2,450,100 have been processed.
Official data shows that 58% of applicants had been granted resident status and 41% pre-resident status. At the same time, 0.7% of applications – that is six of them – were rejected due to non-fulfilment of set criteria.
The ‘3 Million’ organisation whose task is to protect the rights of Europeans in Britain is systematically calling for a change of procedures so that the right of residence and other rights of EU members are automatically secured after the end of the transitional period and no application process is required.
According to a survey by the organisation, which was presented at the same time as official statistics from the Home Office, the process causes increased anxiety to European residents in the UK. And it also destroys their confidence in the country’s institutions.
Meanwhile, European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has said that Britain will not automatically deport EU citizens who have not applied for the right to remain in the country after Brexit.
Verhofstadt, who met with British ministers including Brexit minister Stephen Barclay last week, said he had been reassured there would be a grace period for those who have not applied for Britain’s “settled status” scheme by the set deadline.