Welwyn Hatfield residents from EU member states will need to apply for settlement scheme
PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 October 2019
Seven thousand European Union citizens living in Welwyn Hatfield will need to apply for the settlement scheme.
The Government's scheme is free and is aimed at providing a way for non-Irish EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, and their families, to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021.
However granting of settled status has been slow with only 929,600 UK residents having got confirmation by the end of September 2019.
This means around 2.7 million EU citizens so far do not have settled status.
Some 586,700 applicants have also only been given pre-settled status, which only gives them only five years to remain in the UK.
MP Grant Shapps said he is not aware of anyone in Welwyn Hatfield having an issue but has asked for constituents to contact him "immediately" if they do have a problem.
He added that UK scheme "is more generous" than what other EU member state's are rolling out to UK residents.
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He said: "We encourage the rest of the EU to do the same in return."
However Security Minister Brandon Lewis did say on Thursday that deporting people might be an option if EU citizens do not apply before the end of 2020.
When asked about this possibility, Mr Shapps said: "Two million out of the three million plus EU citizens have already registered and the scheme doesn't stop taking registrations until the end of next year (2020), so there's no need for anyone who is here now to be deported.
"The simple advice to all Welwyn Hatfield EU residents is to register now, even though there's more than a year to go.
"Your contribution to UK society is appreciated and wanted - so please register and stay, for good".
Liberal Democrat Hertfordshire county councillor and MEP for East of England Barbara Gibson thinks the Government has "broken the promise" it has made to EU citizens.
"Boris Johnson said the rights of EU citizens in the UK would be automatically guaranteed in law, but the Government's own figures show that the process is anything but automatic," said Cllr Gibson.
A full guide to the 'EU Settlement Scheme' is available on the Government's website here: gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status