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Thousands could lose Universal Credit from midnight as Brexit rules kick in

Applications for the settled status regime, under which longstanding European residents can claim indefinite leave to stay in the country, close at midnight on June 30

It protects your right to work and live in the UKIt protects your right to work and live in the UK (

Image: Getty Images)

European citizens living in the UK face a race against time as the deadline to apply for residency kicks in at midnight on Wednesday.

Under the terms of the Brexit deal, people from Europe who are living in Britain have until the end of June to apply for indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

That means they can continue to legally work, rent, claim benefits such as Universal Credit and use the NHS.

However, just last week, figures showed at least 80,000 benefit claimants had not yet applied for EU Settlement (EUSS) status, meaning they could find themselves cut off from vital support.

Settled status is given to those who have been living in the UK for five-years or more.

It means they can continue to legally work, rent, claim benefits such as Universal Credit and use the NHS

Those who were living in the UK before Brexit but had been here for less than five years get pre-settled status instead, but will become eligible to apply for settled status if they stay.

According to provisional Home Office figures, 5.6m applications have been received since the scheme opened in March 2019 and 5.2m have been finalised.

Around 2.7m were granted settled status and 2.2m were given pre-settled status.

There is a backlog due to the rush to complete – these people will not have their payments affected while they wait for a response.

Universal Credit £20 cut means half of families will not be able to afford food

Who has to apply?

EU citizens and their families have been asked to apply to the Home Office scheme now the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement has ended.

This also includes people from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as well as Switzerland.

Once granted status, applicants can use the NHS, study and access 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.

A Home Office spokesperson said EU citizens who have submitted an application by June 30 “will have their rights protected in law and will be issued with a certificate of application”.

EU residents living in England have until midnight on Wednesday to apply

The document can be presented to employers and landlords and verified by the government’s checking service.

They added: “As we near the June 30 deadline, our Settlement Resolution Centre is seeing a surge in calls but continues to help thousands of customers every day.

“We want to prioritise those who haven’t yet submitted an application and who need additional support to do so, so if you have already made an application please do not call to check.

Immigration Enforcement will hand those who miss the cut-off a “28-day notice” to apply and consider late applications if there are “reasonable grounds”.

People will be able to submit late applications if they miss the deadline and meet the ‘reasonable grounds’ for doing so.

These include:

  • Where a parent, guardian or council has failed to apply on behalf of a child
  • Where a person has a serious medical condition preventing them from applying in time
  • If someone is a victim of modern slavery, is in an abusive relationship, is vulnerable or lacks the ability to make the digital application
  • Other compelling or compassionate reasons, including in light of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Late applications can take place years afterwards. For example, if a child discovered later in life that they are undocumented.


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