MORE than 85,000 people from EU countries living in Wales have applied to be allowed to remain in the UK.

In total, 87,960 people eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme had applied to the Home Office for settled or pre-settled status in Wales by Thursday, May 27, new figures have shown.

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, June 30.

Of those who have applied, 58 per cent have have been given settled status and 40 per cent have been given pre-settled status, which is granted to those who have not lived in the UK for five years continuously. Those granted pre-settled status are allowed to stay in the UK for a further five years, and once they have lived in the country for five years continuously they can apply for settled status.

The remaining two per cent of applications were refused, withdrawn, void or invalid.

Although it was initially believed there were around 70,000 eligible citizens in Wales, later updates from local authorities suggest there are around 90,000.

Find out more information on how to apply here.

The Welsh Government's minister for social justice, Jane Hutt said: “This is not a position I wanted our EU citizens to find themselves in. The Welsh Government has long advocated and called on the UK Government to extend the deadline and to at least consider the ongoing impact of the pandemic. I have recently written to Kevin Foster, MP, on this issue.

“I am however thankful that following repeated calls from Welsh ministers, on April 1, the UK Government did update its EUSS caseworker guidance to make provisions for more complex applications and to give caseworkers the discretion to accept late applications on reasonable grounds.

“However, and as much as I welcome this sign of some flexibility, I do not feel the allowances go far enough and I will continue to urge the UK Government to show maximum flexibility post-June 2021.

“Alongside this it is important that we collectively focus energies on ensuring that: EU citizens are aware of the scheme; are aware of the deadline; and have the best support possible to make an application.”

Ms Hutt said that there is concern for those who have secured their pre-settled status but will still need to apply for settled status when they become eligible.

“We know there are people who have not yet applied to the scheme and there are a number of reasons which we believe are contributing to this," she said. "Some EU citizens may have come to live in the UK many years ago and do not realise they need to apply, some may have had children whilst living here and are not aware that applications must be made for each family member.

“Others face digital barriers and issues to obtaining the correct documentation and we are aware that some are overwhelmed by the process. In addition to this, I also remain deeply concerned about the number of vulnerable citizens in Wales who may not yet have applied.

“Unfortunately, we still do not know the scale of the challenge that remains as it is not possible to accurately calculate the number of EU citizens in Wales who haven’t applied. This is because the UK Government does not know exactly how many EU citizens are eligible to apply.”


She added: “We must all work together to ensure that EU citizens are treated fairly and enjoy the same rights as they have previously. Over coming weeks and months the Welsh Government will be working with partners to raise awareness of EU citizen’s rights and has already trained 350 front-line local authority staff on migrant rights and entitlements to services."

You can apply for the EU Settlement Scheme here.