London, May 30: British interior minister Sajid Javid has on Thursday said more than 750,000 European Union (EU) citizens have applied to continue to remain living in Britain after it withdraws from the bloc.
According to Reuters news reports, the issue related to what would happen to above three million EU nationals currently living in the United Kingdom (UK) was on the top to be discussed and tackled in the divorce talks with the EU.
Britain has stated the EU citizens have been provided with a deadline of at least December 31, 2020, to decide and apply for the “settled status” whether or not Brexit deal is approved with the bloc.
Britain, currently, is due to leave the bloc on October 31, but British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will step down amid Brexit deadlock as she failed thrice to get her proposed Brexit deal through the parliament, and those contesting to replace May are divided over the course whether to seek implementation to May’s deal.
While adding the scheme has so far noticed 750,000 applications applying to remain in the EU, Javid, in an official statement, said, “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.”
According to figures released by Javid’s department has shown a total number of 621,400 people had already applied by April’s end, with other 389,900 people who had received shortly after the complete launch of the scheme on March 30, and that the rest have submitted their applications during a test phase which kicked off last August.
Under the EU Settlement Scheme, the EU citizens who lived continuously in Britain for consecutive five years could be provided settled EU status, providing them the same rights to study, access benefits, services and work as of what they are currently doing so.
The government said Polish nationals have been accounted for the largest group with 103,200 people having applied for the scheme so far, followed by some 89,9000 Romanians, and further followed by 70,800 Italians.
About 445,000 applicants have been concluded so far with a third of those already granted settled status, however, the rest were given “pre-settled status” and are able to apply for the settled status once completing five-year mark.