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United Kingdom: Brexit, as from today, 3.5 million foreigners will have to apply for settled status to access healthcare and welfare

(London) While Brexit is still a contentious issue in Westminster, as from today, the approximately 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK – including 700,000 Italians – will be eligible to apply for settled status, giving them access to healthcare and social security. A biometric passport is required to register on the website as well as a payment of £65 (about 74 euros). Applicants must have lived in the UK for at least five years and must have a recent Android phone since the application must be lodged via an app. The scheme is in its test phase and will be fully operational only as of 30 March 2019 after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021 to avoid deportation from the island. Those who have not lived in the UK for 5 years may be eligible for pre-settled status, allowing them to stay in the country until they have reached the five-year threshold, at which point they will be able to apply for settled status. According to the BBC and other British media, the registration system may not withstand the pressure of so many applications, and European citizens risk becoming the next “Windrush generation”. Just as those migrants who arrived from the Caribbean in the fifties and sixties, who were never formally naturalised and technically became illegal migrants, so too Europeans may find themselves without rights despite having worked and paid taxes for years.

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