The authorities of the United Kingdom will not deport any European Union citizen from the country after Brexit, even after the conclusion of the ”EU Settlement Scheme” in 2021, it was disclosed on Friday.
The revelation was made public by MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who is the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, and the report was verified by other British officials.
Verhofstadt, who met with a number of British Ministers on Thursday, spoke with the BBC Radio 4’s ”Today” program on Friday and told interviewers that he was reassured by the British side that the UK will not deport any EU citizen who has not been registered in the ”EU Settlement Scheme.”
Currently, all 3.5 million EU citizens who live in Britain must complete an online application, which grants them either a ”Settled” or ”Pre-settled” status, and offers them the right of indefinite leave to remain in the country and enjoy the very same rights as they did before Brexit.
Additionally, all the members of their families are also granted the same right, even if they are not actually resident in the United Kingdom.
The deadline for individuals to register in the Settlement Scheme is December 31, 2020.
Currently, more than 2.7 million EU citizens have already applied and have been granted either Settled or Pre-settled status.
Among these, approximately 60,000 Greek citizens have registered, which is close to the total number of Greek citizens who are believed to live permanently in Britain.
The largest number of applications have been made by Polish, Italian and Romanian nationals, who constitute the majority of European Union citizens living in the UK, along with a great number of Germans, French and Irish.
However, approximately 800,000 individuals have not registered as of yet, which raises questions about their legal status in the United Kingdom in the following months.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will leave the European Union on January 31, at 23:00 GMT; however, the UK will continue to follow all EU laws at least until December 31, 2020.
The problem with those not registered after January 1, 2021 is that they will be automatically classified as citizens who do not have an automatic right to stay in the UK, possibly allowing police forces to even initiate deportation procedures.
However, Friday’s commitment on behalf of the UK that the country will not deport any European national even after 2021, offered some reassurance to those living there who had not filled out the Settlement Scheme application.
Nonetheless, organized groups of EU citizens living in the UK are still somewhat worried, while others claim that the UK would never reach the point of deporting European nationals anyway.
”The 3 Million,” the largest grassroots organization of EU citizens in the UK, noted in a tweet ”It’s easy for the government to dismiss claims of risks of deportations as Stephen Barclay did with Guy Verhovstadt. That is because forced removal is only the last tool in immigration enforcement. Making people’s lives hell and forcing them out voluntarily is the main tool.”
Those interested in applying for the EU Settlement Scheme can still do so by clicking here.
The application is available in all of the official languages of the EU, including the Greek language.