By Kate Dennett
Thousands of Europeans have not applied for settled status to secure their right to stay in the UK after Brexit.
A Home Office report found more than half of Lewisham’s European residents have not applied for settled status since August 2018.
The report showed more than 40 per cent of Greenwich’s European residents remain at risk after Brexit.
More than half of Bromley’s European Londoners have not applied for the scheme.
They are followed closely by Wandsworth, Croydon, Lambeth and Merton.
Bexley performed the worst in the findings, with more than 60 per cent of 18,000 European nationals in the borough not applying for settled status.
This adds up to more than 90,000 European nationals at risk across South London alone, according to the Home Office’s stats.
The EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) secures their right to stay in the UK after Brexit.
More than 20,000 of 41,000 EU Lewisham residents have not yet secured their right to stay in their homes – one of the highest findings in the entire capital.
There are more than 400,000 European nationals living across South London, with thousands of them at risk following Brexit.
Almost 50 per cent of EU nationals in Southwark have not signed up for EUSS, adding up to more than 20,000 residents in the borough.
A Home Office report found nearly 60 per cent of Westminster European residents have not applied for settled status since August 2018. In Kensington & Chelsea 15,040 residents have not applied, or 55.7 per cent of those who should have done so.
Security and deputy EU exit minister Brandon Lewis threatened EU citizens with deportation if they did not apply for settled status. There was a peak of applications in October but the number has since fallen by more than two-thirds.
Sadiq Khan blamed Boris Johnson’s government as European nationals without settled status would be undocumented and subject to “the government’s hostile environment”.
He said: “Instead of stripping them of their rights and making them feel unwelcome, we should be doing precisely the opposite. The Tories have already failed the Windrush generation and, worryingly, are on the verge of failing EU citizens who live here, too.
“The idea that we could go ahead with Brexit while so many people are unregistered – which is this Tory Government’s fault – should be seen as a national scandal.”
EU citizens have until December this year to apply but can get an extension if they have reasonable grounds. If they miss deadline through no fault of their own they can still apply for lawful status in UK.
Sadiq Khan set up the EU Londoners Hub, campaigned for the government to scrap settled status fee and hosted a City Hall event for EU Londoners to get free advice.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The automatic checks against government data are making it straightforward for the vast majority of people to apply. EU citizens and their families have until at least December 2020 to apply.”
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