The U.K. Home Office has started to refuse EU citizens' settlement applications | Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
UK immigration refuses EU citizen applications to settle in Britain
300 applicants rejected on grounds they failed to provide sufficient evidence.
Updated 3/19/20, 3:13 PM CET
LONDON — The British government has begun declining applications from European Union citizens to its EU settlement scheme, with 300 applications rejected in February.
The Home Office said Thursday that the refusals related to cases that had been under consideration for several months and applicants had failed to provide the government with sufficient evidence or information.
Of the 300 refused applications, six were declined because of evidence of serious or persistent criminality while the remainder were rejected because the applicant failed to prove their eligibility.
The scheme allows citizens from European Economic Area countries and Switzerland to prove they have the right to continue to live, work and access public services in the U.K. after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Nazek Ramadan, director of the campaign group Migrant Voice, said the fact that some applications were being declined was a “worrying and unexpected development.”
The Home Office should not refuse applications on information-related grounds, she said, because there are “countless valid explanations” for an individual failing to provide evidence. These include fearing interactions with immigration services, learning disabilities or health problems, she said.
“The Home Office must urgently provide more information about these cases and their decision to refuse,” she said,