EU Settlement Scheme applications near 25,000 in Herts and beyond

Almost 25,000 people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme in our area. Picture: Pixabay

Almost 25,000 people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme in our area. Picture: Pixabay - Credit: Archant

Almost 25,000 applications have been submitted by EU citizens and their families to continue living in our area under a government scheme, new figures have revealed.

The EU Settlement Scheme was launched by the government last year to process EU citizens in the country's post-Brexit future.

In total, approximately 24,190 people from Hertfordshire and beyond have applied to the scheme since August 2018.

Broken down, there were 6,550 applications in the Welwyn Hatfield local authority area, the most in our region.

This was followed by 6,250 applications in South Cambridgeshire, with St Albans close behind with 5,020.

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Lastly, there were 3,450 claims from Stevenage and 2,920 in the North Hertfordshire area, the lowest.

Of these applications, 13,940 were granted 'Settled' status, meaning they retain the same rights to employment, welfare, education and public funds and can stay in the UK for as long as they wish.

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In total, 8,110 were granted 'Pre-Settled' status, and 2,140 received 'Other Outcomes' under the data.

Barbara Gibson, our region's former Member of European Parliament, said: "The UK's so-called settled status scheme remains deeply unsettling. It's not what was promised.

"The government is trying to pass-off the granting of pre-settled status as a successful application, but ask any applicant and it's anything but. In every case I've heard, the applicant deems it a rejection.

"Look at it through the lens of those affected: 2,756,100 people applied as of December 2019. Of those, 55 per cent were successful, 44 per cent were rejected with pre-settled status.

"Because the government is calling this status a success, they are left without certainty, and with diminished rights."

The Home Office said nationally, more than 3 million people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme as of February 2020.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "I'm delighted that there have already been more than 3 million applications to the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme.

"It's the biggest scheme of its kind in British history and means EU citizens can evidence their rights for decades to come. It's time for EU countries to adopt a similar scheme."

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