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EU citizens urged to apply to stay in UK as deadline looms

Europeans seeking post-Brexit residency status in the UK must apply by midnight on Wednesday or risk losing rights

London, UK | Xinhua | European Union (EU) citizens living in Britain have until the end of Wednesday to apply to stay or lose their rights, under post-Brexit rules, known as the EU Settlement Scheme, introduced by the British government.

More than 5.6 million applications have been received, but around 400,000 cases are still waiting to be processed, the BBC reported.

The countries whose nationals have made the highest numbers of applications are Poland (975,000) and Romania (918,000).

Of the concluded applications, more than 2.7 million were granted settled status, allowing them permanent leave to remain in Britain, said the BBC.

According to the British Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, those who failed to secure status will no longer be eligible for homelessness assistance, immediately after the deadline.

Those EU citizens living in Britain who failed to apply in time would instantly start to be charged for non-urgent National Health Service (NHS) treatment, said the British Department of Health and Social Care.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Tuesday issued a last-minute plea to European Londoners and their families to meet the deadline.

“I remain hugely concerned that with hundreds of thousands of people caught up in the (British) government’s application backlog, many European Londoners face a real risk of discrimination from Thursday onwards,” he warned.

From Thursday, any European migrant who hasn’t applied will lose their legal right to work, rent housing and access some hospital treatments or welfare benefits in Britain, media reports said, adding that they may even be subject to deportation.

Wednesday is also the deadline for British nationals living in three EU countries — France, Latvia and Malta — to apply for residency, according to the reports.

The EU Settlement Scheme was designed by the British government to allow EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss citizens to apply to continue living in Britain after Brexit.

EU citizens who live in Britain but do not have indefinite leave to remain will have to apply for the scheme by June 30.

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Xinhua

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