Applications for British citizenship by EU nationals rose by 83 per cent compared with the previous year, to 74,384, according to new Home Office figures published this morning.
This is the highest number of applications from EU nationals in a 12-month period since comparable records began in 2004.
EU nationals accounted for more than a third (37 per cent) of citizenship applications in the year ending June 2021, compared with 12 per cent in 2016.
The Home Office said the increase is likely to reflect more people seeking to confirm their status in the UK following the EU referendum and the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Home Office update comes only days after a City law firm warned that as many as 80,000 EU nationals could lose their right to live in the UK due to errors in EU Settlement Scheme applications.
Bates Wells told City A.M. earlier this week that many of these applicants will be unable to get a new job or move house, some could lose their jobs or even face deportation, particularly since many of the turned-down applications may not be appealed.
The Home Office received an unexpectedly high number of applications for EU Settled Status, which has led to considerable processing backlogs.
In addition to the 79,800 ‘invalid’ applications, a further 80,800 were declared ‘void’ or were withdrawn.
A Home Office spokesperson explained to City A.M. that “applications are withdrawn or voided for a variety of reasons – none of which are the Home Office’s fault. For example an application will be voided if it has been made by someone ineligible for the scheme, such as a British citizen.”
“The Home Office is accepting late applications where there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. The Government continues to use every possible channel to encourage those who are eligible to apply for the EUSS and secure the status they are entitled,” the spokesperson concluded.