As well as providing all these new opportunities, we have delivered on our promise to EU citizens in the UK.
The protection of their rights has been and remains a top priority.
The EU settlement scheme is a success, and I am very proud that we have already given insurance and legal status to around five million people whose home is the UK.
My Home Office officials have done a superb job, working tirelessly to help 1.5 million callers and respond to half a million online enquiries. The government has made available up to £22million in funding for a network of 72 organisations, covering all corners of the UK, to help vulnerable and harder to reach groups apply for the scheme.
Successful applicants receive a digital immigration status that provides secure proof of their rights here.
The UK approach is very generous. Our EU settlement program has been open for over two years. Many EU countries have an application window of 12 months or less; France’s has currently been open for less than nine months.
We are aware that some UK nationals in the EU have faced disruption when boarding and entering the EU; and there have been a number of reported cases of UK nationals in the EU being asked for residence documents which they do not need to hold, being prevented from accessing benefits and services and had problems with their right to work.
It is right for the EU to live up to its citizens’ rights obligations, just as the UK has done for EU citizens in the UK.
With seven days until the June 30 deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme, my message is simple: if you are eligible, apply now and secure your rights under UK law.
Those who have reasonable grounds for not meeting the deadline will still be able to apply. Our approach will remain compassionate, proportionate and pragmatic.
Submitting the application before June 30 is nevertheless the best way to secure your status.
We left the European Union because we wanted to become a sovereign country again. It has never meant that we don’t appreciate the contributions people from other European countries have made to the UK. The EU citizens who inhabit our great nation are our colleagues, our friends and our family.
You are welcome here and cherished – and the success of the EU settlement program proves it.