THOUSANDS of EU citizens living in Oxfordshire are worried about being left in limbo about their right to stay in the UK after Brexit.

EU citizens living in the UK have to apply for settled status if they want to stay in the country on a permanent basis.

But in South Oxfordshire alone, the local Liberal Democrat group has claimed 2,160 EU nationals living in the district out of 5,400 who applied have not been granted this special status.

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The political party is now calling for all EU nationals across the UK to be given settled status without having to go through the lengthy process of applying.

Liberal Democrat District Councillor for Wheatley, Alexandrine Kantor, said EU nationals had made a contribution by working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, and urged the Government to “extend the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are working tirelessly in our hospitals and care homes."

Of the 5,400 EU nationals across South Oxfordshire who have applied for permanent residency, only 3,190 have been granted settled status.

340 EU nationals living in the district have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made.

Another 1,820 have been given only the lesser temporary Pre-Settled Status, meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.

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Ms Kantor is a French national who has set up home in the UK and works for the Science centre for Fusion Energy in Culham.

She said: “I have spent more than £1,700 getting UK citizenship by the time I’ve made an oath of allegiance to the Queen at my citizenship ceremony, it is not easy or straightforward but I felt that I needed that security if I intend to make this country my home.

She added: “Too many EU nationals in South Oxfordshire are deeply anxious about their right to stay. With the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s wrong to leave them in legal limbo like this."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “There have been more than 3.5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme already and it takes as little as 15 minutes to apply. Applications are free and there is still over a year left before the deadline of 30 June 2021. 

“There is a range of support available online, by email and telephone for those who have questions or who need help applying. Whether someone has pre-settled status or settled status, this means they have been accepted through the scheme and have secured their rights in UK law.”

The deadline for EU nationals living in the UK to apply is June 30, 2021.

Those who are eligible to apply are EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, or people from outside these countries with family members who are.


Some people are exempt from having to apply.

This article has been updated to include comment from the home office 27/05/20