Belfast Telegraph

Nearly 30,000 people apply to keep living in Northern Ireland after Brexit

The Home Office said 69% of around 28,750 applications from Northern Ireland up to September 30, 2019 had been granted settled status. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The Home Office said 69% of around 28,750 applications from Northern Ireland up to September 30, 2019 had been granted settled status. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Flora Thompson

There have been almost 30,000 applications for the right to carry on living in Northern Ireland permanently after Brexit, new official figures suggest.

The highest number of applications in Northern Ireland came from people from Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Home Office said 69% of around 28,750 applications from Northern Ireland up to September 30, 2019 had been granted settled status.

They included 4,410 under-18s; 23,890 people aged 18 to 64 and 440 aged 65 or more.

More than half a million people in the UK, including more than 70,000 children, have not been granted the right to stay.

Some 1.8m people had applied to the EU Settlement Scheme up until the end of September, according to data released by the Home Office yesterday.

Just under a million were granted settled status - giving them full permanent permission to live and work in the UK when freedom of movement ends.

Ministers insist the scheme is working and is on schedule, despite concerns from campaigners that another estimated 2m people are yet to apply and not everyone is receiving the status they are entitled to.

Last month, Security Minister Brandon Lewis indicated that EU citizens could be deported if they did not apply by the deadline.

There were 1,860,190 applications and 1,524,510 were concluded by September 30, with 61% (929,580) granted settled status.

Of the remaining 594,930, most were handed pre-settled status (586,710), which gives them temporary leave to remain. They may be able to re-apply for settled status after they have lived in the UK for longer.

The Home Office insists that just two applications have been refused so far - but the statistics report did not disclose any exact figures, saying this information was withheld for "sensitivity reasons".

Explanatory notes on the data indicated the number was between one and nine.

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