As coronavirus crisis deepens, there is an increased fear that all EU citizens who shifted to UK post-Brexit are at risk of becoming illegal as the British government is now diverting resources to fight the pandemic. Under the current rule, all EU citizens have until June 2021 to apply for the settled status. However, the government's support to EU citizens would apparently reduce as the number of infections is on the rise.
Also, all the public awareness campaigns designed to reach people without an online presence would be delayed. Talking about the issue, Zoe Gardner, of the Joint Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants, reportedly said that the coronavirus crisis means that the entire system of applications is at risk of failing. She added that the support services to help people through the process are largely face to face and simply won’t be able to function for a prolonged period, with charities designed to support vulnerable EU citizens severely limited in their ability to support vulnerable people.
According to reports, the UK government has already announced that the settled status processing service has been delayed by COVID-19. According to international media, the Home Office declined 300 applications in February, which the department said had been because applicants had failed to provide the government with the correct evidence or information. Britain has till now reported 19,522 cases of infection.
The whole process of getting a settled status takes about five days. To be eligible, EU citizens usually need to have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least six months in any 12-month period for five years in a row, international media reported.
(Image credit: AP)