More than 42,000 EU citizens living in Yorkshire and the Humber apply to stay after Brexit

Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis on a visit to Malton
Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis on a visit to Malton
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More than 42,000 European citizens living in Yorkshire and the Humber have applied for the scheme which grants them permission to live and work in the country after Brexit.

Details of the number of applicants for the region applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows European Union, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens and their relatives to obtain the status they need to remain in the UK after October 31, were released by the Home Office.

More than 9,000 people living in Leeds are estimated to have made an application, with high numbers of applications also in Bradford (5,270) and Sheffield (4,560).

The scheme asks applicants to prove their identity, demonstrate they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

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The nationalities which had made the highest number of applications so far were Polish (153,980), Romanian (125,500) and Italian (106,100).

Of the 800,000 applications dealt with by June 30, 65 per cent (523,330) were granted full status and 35 per cent (279,950) were granted pre-settled status, which can be granted until someone has lived in the country continuously for five years.

There were 2,010 withdrawn or void applications and 260 which were invalid. No applications were refused during this period, the Home Office said. There were more than 107,000 applications from children under 16.

The department said more than 340,000 applications had been received from people living in London. Around a million EU citizens live in the capital, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

Earlier in the month the Home Office said more than a million Europeans had been given permission to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

Home Office and Brexit deputy minister Brandon Lewis said: "We are looking to grant status under the scheme, not to refuse it, and EU citizens and their families have until at least December 31 2020 to make an application."

The figures were released as immigration experts warned that the Government will not be able to bring in "meaningful restrictions" on the arrival of new EU migrants after a no-deal Brexit.

Employers would be unable to distinguish new arrivals from EU citizens already living in the UK until the settlement scheme - which grants them permission to live and work in the country after Brexit - is concluded at the end of 2020, the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said.

There would be no way of telling people who previously arrived in the UK - or other EU citizens who have not registered for settled status - apart from those arriving after November 1, the report said.

Julie Linley, Immigration Adviser at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which provides support in Leeds and Bradford, said: “St. Vincent’s has been raising awareness of the scheme, reassuring EU Citizens, tackling any confusion or uncertainty and helping vulnerable individuals make applications.

“We’ve been providing clear information, advice and most importantly responding to the individual needs of each person.

“We know Yorkshire is a great place to be and it’s great to see our practical action, along with the work of others in our area, taking a lead in making a real difference.”