LONDON (dpa) – Nearly a year after Britain exited the European Union, tens of thousands of European Union citizens living in Great Britain are still waiting for their right to reside in the country.
“It’s not without getting organized and living more when you’re stuck in a backlog,” Luke Piper of civil rights organization The3Million says in an interview with dpa. According to an analysis by the organization, there are several hundred thousand backlogs of the so-called settlement program that have not yet been processed. The program guarantees EU citizens who lived in the country before December 31, 2020 the right to housing, work and health care. In total, more than 6.3 million people have applied for the status.
If processing continues at the current pace, it will take until 2023 for the backlog to clear, The3Million fears. When asked, the UK Home Office said there was no deadline for processing applications. The pending applications relate to those that are more complex to process – eg due to previous convictions.
According to The3Million, the process has continued to slow over the past few months. The organization is calling for capacity in the Ministry of Interior to be increased so that applications are processed faster and those affected can count on advice and assistance while they await residency.
The UK government is also currently facing a lawsuit brought by the British regulator over the rights of EU citizens. As announced by the Independent Monitoring Authority of Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA), around 2.4 million EU citizens in Great Britain risk losing their rights guaranteed in the Brexit agreement automatically.
Background: Anyone who has only been in the country for less than five years can apply for temporary resident status, which can be converted to permanent status upon application at the latest after another five years have elapsed. But you have to apply again for this. However, if this deadline is not met, the life, work, and state support benefits automatically expire under current regulations.
The Brexit Treaty guarantees EU citizens who were in the country before Great Britain finally left to the community of nations the same rights as before.
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