More than 750,000 European Union citizens have applied to remain living in Britain after it leaves the bloc, interior minister Sajid Javid said on Thursday.
The issue of what would happen to the more than 3 million EU nationals living in Britain was one of the first to be tackled in divorce talks with the bloc. Britain has said EU citizens have until at least Dec. 31, 2020 to apply for “settled status” whether or not an exit deal with the EU is approved
Britain is currently due to leave on Oct. 31, but Prime Minister Theresa May is stepping down after failing to get her exit deal approved by parliament and those vying to replace her are divided over whether to seek changes to that deal.
Here's the top 10 countries by number of citizens applying to stay in the UK, according to the Home Office.
- Poland 103,200
- Romania 89,800
- Italy 70,800
- Portugal 52,400
- Spain 41,800
- Bulgaria 34,700
- Lithuania 26,800
- France 26,500
- Germany 22,200
- Netherlands 20,900
“EU citizens are our friends, neighbors and colleagues who contribute so much to this country. Whatever the outcome of Brexit we want them to stay,” Javid said in a statement, adding that the scheme had so far seen 750,000 applications.
Figures released by his department showed a total of 621,400 people had applied by the end of April, with 389,900 of those received in the first month after the scheme was launched fully on March 30 and the rest submitted during a test phase which began in August last year.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme, EU citizens who have lived continuously in Britain for five years can be granted settled status, giving them the same rights to work, study and access benefits and services as they currently do.
A total of 445,000 applications have been concluded, with a third of those given settled status. The rest were given “pre-settled” status, and can apply for settled status when they hit the five-year mark.