The record number of EU citizens applies for British citizenship as 200 seek more security after Brexit each day
- In the March quarter, 18,011 UK citizenship applications were received from EU citizens
- According to the home office, this corresponds to 200 applications per day
- EU citizens who have been living in the UK continuously for five years can apply
According to the Home Office, 200 EU citizens apply for British citizenship each day.
The number of applications from EU citizens has increased since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and made up almost every third application in the twelve months to March.
Before the referendum, EU citizens only made up 12 percent of the total.
In March, there were 18,011 UK citizenship applications from EU citizens – a new record
Recent figures also show that applications rose 52 percent from 11,800 in the first quarter of 2018 to 18,011 in the same period this year.
Experts believe the March quarter surge may be due to concerns over the UK's original Brexit date on March 29.
Nando Sigona, professor of international migration at Birmingham University, told The Times that fears about EU citizens' rights after Brexit and the legacy of the Windrush affair are causing the increase in applications.
Under the system proposed by the government, all EU citizens who moved to the UK before December 31, 2020 will be given a permanent status once they have lived in the country for five consecutive years.
Under the system proposed by the Home Office, all EU citizens who moved to the UK before December 31, 2020 will be granted permanent residency status after living in the country for five years
The established status ensures that EU citizens retain their current employment and residence rights in the future.
However, the system has not been legislated and there are concerns that the system could be changed.
Professor Sigona said: “The fear of depriving them of their rights has prompted many respondents to consider applying for British citizenship.
“Many EU citizens have lost confidence in the UK government and its fixed status scheme.
"Citizenship is seen as a way to anchor yourself in Britain."
Citizens' applications cost £ 1,330 and require applicants to have lived in the UK for five years, have English skills and pass a test of life in the UK.