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Extra funding to help UK nationals carry on living in EU after Brexit

By Flora Thompson, PA Home Affairs Correspondent

Charities are being given a share of £3 million in funding to help UK nationals apply for residency to continue living in the EU after Brexit.

Residents in Spain, France, Germany, Cyprus and Italy, among other countries, will be able to seek advice from the organisations being handed the cash, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

The Government fund particularly aims to help pensioners, disabled people, those living in remote areas or those who need language translation with the paperwork and is in addition to guidance provided by British embassies.

More than a million UK nationals are living in European countries and will most likely need to apply for residency to remain there from next year.

Charities receiving funding include SSAFA, the armed forces charity which supports veterans and their families; Age in Spain; the AIRE Centre; the Cyprus International Financial Services Association; the International Organisation for Migration; the Franco British Network; and Asociacion Babelia.

Meanwhile, the Home Office is providing an extra £8 million of funding to help vulnerable people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after it came under fire over the support available.

Charities and local authorities can bid for the cash to offer advice and support in person, online and over the phone in 2020-21 to EU citizens already living in the UK.

The announcement comes a week after campaigners accused the Government department of being "less than co-operative" in helping vulnerable people apply to the scheme.

The criticism followed concerns from the watchdog reviewing the Home Office's handling of the project, which described some of its responses to concerns as "less positive and constructive" than hoped.

Some 57 charities across the country were given a share of £9 million last year to offer support. Their funding will be extended to June while the bidding process takes place.

Organisations successful in securing the next round of funding will be "fully supported by the Home Office and will be able to speak to caseworkers directly to discuss individual cases", a department spokesman said.

The Home Office is spending around £4 million on advertising the scheme after a radio advert was banned for failing to make clear that more documents than just a passport or ID card would be needed to apply.

Support is available in person and online as well as from a helpline staffed by 250 people, which is open seven days a week to answer questions on applications.

Home visits for those who cannot use a computer or do not have internet access can be arranged, the department said.

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