UK Home Office Faces Backlog of Residency Applications From EU Citizens

© REUTERS / Jon NazcaThe Union Jack (bottom) and the European Union flag are seen flying, at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum
The Union Jack (bottom) and the European Union flag are seen flying, at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes admitted on Tuesday that the Home Ministry had only processed a small number of EU citizens, with millions more awaiting their status to be confirmed ahead of Brexit.

An estimated 3.8 million EU nationals were living in the United Kingdom in 2017. Those wishing to stay and work in the country after it exits the European Union have to apply for settled status.

"We have about 4,000 people eligible to go through the process — and 1,000 actually did but that was the case of making an appointment," she told the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

A traffic sign is seen in front of European and Union flags in London, Britain - Sputnik International
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London will "turn off" EU citizens’ right to free movement when it quits next year on March 29. Nokes said EU citizens would not have an automatic right to work if no deal on that is reached with Brussels.

In case of a no-deal Brexit, UK employers will have to do right-to-work checks to make sure that the person they are hiring had gone through a mandatory registration, she added.

The migration official admitted it would be "almost impossible" for the government post-March to differentiate between new arrivals and those who had not yet confirmed their settled status.

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