A poster, aimed at EU citizens living in the UK, encourages EU nationals to apply to the Government’s post-Brexit EU settlement scheme in London on March 25, 2019. (Photo credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.K. government has said nearly 2 million EU citizens living in the U.K. have applied to the controversial EU settlement scheme.
The scheme was brought in at the beginning of 2019, several years after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, which put the residency status of around 3 million EU citizens living in Britain in question (the latest numbers from Oxford’s Migration Observatory put the EU-born population in the U.K. as 3.6 million in 2018).
From the beginning the scheme has been criticized as cumbersome and off-putting. Part of the application requires users submit documents, which they can do only by using an Android phone (that is to say, iPhone not supported) or by travelling to one of only 13 regional processing centres in the entire country.
On top of that, the difficulty finding or verifying relevant paperwork, sometimes for people who have been in Britain for decades, has led to fears people will be wrongly rejected from the scheme. This is particularly worrying to some in the light of the disastrous Windrush scandal.
With these latest numbers, the government is trying to reassure people the scheme is working.
“EU citizens have made a huge contribution to this country and will play a key role in cementing Britain’s status as an outward-looking, global leader after Brexit,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel