Remaining in Wales: European citizens apply to stay after missing the deadline

Published 20/01/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

European citizens who were living in Wales before Brexit needed to apply to stay by 30 June 2021. Over 6.3 million applications had been made to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as of 30 November 2021.

The EUSS remains open to receive late applications. Concerns have been raised that those who missed the deadline automatically became illegally resident in the UK on 1 July 2021. However, the UK Government has promised to protect the rights of those with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

This article presents the latest quarterly statistics up to 30 September 2021, including how many late applications continued to be made from Wales after the deadline. It provides updated infographics tracking the progress of the EUSS in Wales and summarises the latest actions taken by the Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee and the Welsh Government. Our previous article covers applications received before the deadline.


Citizens’ rights form key parts of agreements reached between the UK, the EU and other European countries as part of Brexit. The Welsh Government must adhere to these agreements and the Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, is responsible for EUSS-related activities in Wales.

Up to 30 September 2021, 102,170 applications were received from Wales, including 17,660 applications for those aged under 18. 96,620 applications had received a decision.

Successful applicants are granted a status of either ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’. These are explained in detail in our previous article.

Since the EUSS opened, 57.2% of applicants have been granted settled status and can remain in Wales indefinitely, however, they lose their status if they spend more than five years in a row outside the UK.

37.5% have been granted pre-settled status. This is valid for five years and needs to be converted to settled status via a second application to stay longer. Citizens granted pre-settled status lose their status if they spend more than two years in a row outside the UK.

Our infographic below shows the percentage and number of applications from Wales. It shows whether they were received before/after the deadline, whether they received a decision and the outcome of applications for European citizens in Wales.

EUSS applications from Wales by date, concluded applications and outcomes by percentage and number

Infographic showing outcomes of 102170 applications from Wales. 97.7% (99830) applied before the deadline and 2.3% (2340) were late applications. 94.6% (96620) of applications are decided and 5.4% (5550) are undecided. Of the decided applications, 57.2% (55220) were granted settled status, 37.5% (36200) were granted pre-settled status, 2.2% (2110) were refused, 1.6% (1560) were invalid and 1.6% (1530) were withdrawn or void.

Pre-settled citizens

European citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years, but arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020, are granted pre-settled status.

Pre-settled status expires after five years and must be converted to settled status via a second application. This means that the 36,200 pre-settled citizens in Wales will need to make a second application if they want to stay beyond five years.

Failure to reapply results in the automatic loss of a person’s right to work, access housing, education and benefits, and they could be liable to removal from the UK.

The body responsible for monitoring European citizens’ rights in the UK, the Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA), believes that this automatic loss of rights is unlawful because it breaches the UK’s agreements with the EU and other European countries. IMA has initiated judicial review proceedings against the UK Government to challenge this.

The interactive map below shows the number of pre-settled citizens in each Welsh local authority area as of 30 September 2021:

The number of those applying to convert their status from pre-settled to settled status are captured in statistics on repeat applications.

The UK Government states that “the majority” of repeat applications were applications to convert statuses. However, the exact number is not supplied and information by UK nation is not provided. In total there were 45,700 repeat applications from across the UK.

This means that we do not know how many applications have been received from pre-settled citizens in Wales trying to convert their status.

Late applicants

Applications continued to be received after the application deadline and these are reported for the first time.

2,340 applications were received from Wales between 1 July-30 September. In July, 850 late applications were received from Wales, followed by 670 in August and 820 in September.

These mark the lowest monthly number of applications received since the EUSS opened in March 2019, as shown below:

EU Settlement Scheme monthly applications received in Wales

Graph showing the number of applications to the EUSS from Wales by month since the scheme opened in March 2019. The number of applications varied between 1000 and 10000 and was at its highest (9840) in October 2019. Other peaks around 6000 to 7000 monthly applications occurred in April 2019, January 2020, December 2020 and June 2021. Late applications in the 3 months beyond the 30 June 2021 deadline were less than 1000 per month.

The UK Government advises that late applications will be considered for those who have reasonable grounds for missing the deadline, such aswhere a parent has failed to apply on behalf of a child or where a person has a serious medical condition. It has promised to protect the rights of late applicants until their application and any appeal is decided.

No application

If a person has not applied to the EUSS and they come into contact with UK authorities, they will be issued with a 28 day notice to apply.

The UK Government says that people who have not applied to the EUSS after the 28 day notice period will not be eligible for work, benefits or services and will not pass tenancy checks. They may be liable for enforcement action, although the UK Government emphasises that deportation will not be automatic. Employers and landlords are also required to notify the Home Office of persons who have not applied.

Senedd and Welsh Government

In October, Members of the Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee agreed to:

  1. Publish regular monitoring reports on European citizens’ rights in Wales, available on the Senedd’s website.
  2. Share its reports with the Independent Monitoring Authority.
  3. Request the Welsh Government’s latest assessment of the EUSS in Wales, particularly with regards to how it will support late applicants and pre-settled citizens in future.

In response, the Minister for Social Justice provided detail on the Welsh Government’s EUSS Co-ordination Group, described its latest awareness raising activities and explained how it will make use of its recently-extended free advice and support services until “at least” March 2022. More information is available from the EU Citizens’ Immigration Advice Service in Wales.

Article by Sara Moran, Helen Jones & Joe Wilkes, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament