Applications for British citizenship by EU residents on the rise

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British Passport
British Passport

EU nationals now account for more than a third of all applications for British citizenship, statistics show.

Some 37 per cent of all applications submitted in the year ending in June were from EU nationals, compared with 12 per cent in 2016, according to data published by the Home Office on Thursday.

Applications for British citizenship by EU nationals rose by 83 per cent in comparison with the previous year, to 74,384 – the highest number in a 12-month period since comparable records began in 2004.

The Home Office said this increase is likely to reflect more people seeking to confirm their status in Britain following the EU referendum and the country’s exit from the EU.

Since March 2019, EU nationals resident in Britain, and their family members, have been able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in Britain.

The latest data from the scheme show that 6.09 million applications had been received up to July 31, according to the Home Office. Overall, statistics show there were 200,177 applications for British citizenship in the year ending in June, 35 per cent more than in the year ending in June 2020.

There were 147,369 grants of British citizenship in the year, 4 per cent more than the previous year, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic response, the Home Office said.< It estimates that there were an estimated 19.6 million passenger arrivals in the year ending in June, including returning British residents, an 81-per-cent drop compared with the previous year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. There were 830,969 visas granted in the year ending in June, of which 35 per cent were for study, 26 per cent were to visit, 21 per cent were to work, 6 per cent were for family, and 13 per cent for other reasons. Elsewhere, the figures show that 511 Afghan nationals were offered protection in Britain in the 12 months to June, in the form of asylum, resettlement and other types of leave. This is down from 942 in the 12 months to June 2020. All resettlement activity in Britain was paused between March and November 2020, leading to a drop of 81 per cent in the overall number of resettlement grants, from 3,560 in the year to June 2020 to just 661 in the year to June 2021. This total includes nine Afghan nationals, compared with 89 in the previous 12 months. However, these figures do not include the resettlement of Afghan staff who supported British efforts in the country. Separate figures show that, since 2013, the Home Office has resettled more than 3,300 Afghan staff and their families in Britain.

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