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One million Europeans given permission to live and work in UK after Brexit

By Flora Thompson, PA Home Affairs Correspondent

More than one million Europeans have been given permission to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

The Home Office announced the figure as it published statistics on the settlement scheme which allows EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their relatives to obtain the status they need to remain in the country.

The scheme launched four-and-a-half months ago, with 50,000 people applying in the first weekend alone, according to the department.

Once granted the status, people can live and work in the UK, use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits as well as travel in and out of the country.

In figures to the end of July there were more than 950,000 applications from England, 50,000 from Scotland, 15,000 from Wales and 12,000 from Northern Ireland, the Home Office said.

The highest number of applications came from Polish, Romanian, Italian and Portuguese people, according to the Home Office.

The published figures said 131,300 applications were received in July with a total of 1,040,600 submitted since the scheme launched.

In July, 146,100 applications were finalised with 56% granted full status and 42% granted pre-settled status, which can be applied to be updated once someone has lived in the country continuously for five years.

Overall 951,700 applications were dealt with by the end of July, the published figures said.

Department minister Brandon Lewis said: "EU citizens have made incredible contributions to our country - which is why I'm so pleased that over one million people have been granted status, enshrining their rights in law."

Regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal, applications can be submitted up until December 31 2020.

The scheme asks applicants to prove their identity, demonstrate they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

The news comes as the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published figures on Thursday which estimated the tourism industry had a higher proportion of non-British nationals working in it than other sectors.

There is an average of 3.2 million people working in the tourism industry in the UK, with an estimated 16% (501,000) who are not British nationals.

Of the 501,000, an estimated 64% were EU nationals.

Other data also released by the ONS said 6% of 1.9 million employed in the healthcare workforce in the UK in 2018 were EU nationals.

The proportion of non-British nationals has broadly remained the same since 2012 but the numbers have risen to 227,000 with EU nationals accounting for the majority of the increase.

The news comes as earlier this week other ONS figures showed the number of EU nationals working in the UK had increased over the last 12 months.

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