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'70,000 children not granted right to stay in UK after Brexit'

By Flora Thompson, PA Home Affairs Correspondent

More than half a million people, including more than 70,000 children, have not been granted the right to carry on living in the UK permanently after Brexit, official figures suggest.

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

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 two million 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.

Thousands of other applications have been unsuccessful, the figures suggested, with 7,960 being withdrawn or considered void and 260 deemed invalid.

Some 14% of all applications (254,810) were from children.

Of the 187,280 applications from those under the age of 18 that were concluded by the end of September, the figures indicated that 116,890 were granted settled status. There were 69,750 granted pre-settled status, 630 applications were withdrawn or void, and 10 deemed invalid.

This suggests that some 70,390 children have applied but not been granted settled status, according to analysis of the figures by the PA news agency.

The numbers are rounded to the nearest 10 so may not be exact, the data report noted.

Some 92% of the applications were made by people already living in England, 5% in Scotland, 2% in Wales and 2% in Northern Ireland.

The report said: "Polish and Romanian nationals were consistently among the highest application numbers made from the within the UK."

Last month, the Home Office said those with "reasonable grounds" for missing the December 2020 deadline to apply would be granted an extension.

Mr Lewis told German newspaper Die Welt: "If EU citizens until this point of time have not registered and have no adequate reason for it, then the valid immigration rules will be applied."

Pressed on whether that would include those who met the legal requirements for residence but did not apply in the next 14 months, he replied: "Theoretically yes. We will apply the rules."

The Government is spending an extra £1 million in advertising on the scheme, in addition to the £3.75 million already allocated for marketing, in the wake of a radio advert being banned for failing to make clear that further documentation in addition to a passport or ID card would be needed to apply.

Applications can be submitted by computer or post and an iPhone app is being developed.

Under the scheme, EU citizens and their relatives, including those from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as well as Switzerland, are asked to apply to confirm their immigration status so they can live and work in the UK when freedom of movement ends.

Relatives of EEA and Swiss citizens who are not from any of those countries but all currently live in the UK under EU law are also being urged to apply.

Once granted status, applicants can use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits, as well as travel in and out of the country. But first they must prove their identity, show they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions before the deadline.

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