LONDON: European citizens seeking permanent residence in the UK has tripled in a year, as EU nationals seek to guarantee their status in the wake of growing uncertainty around their future. The number of applications being processed stood at 37,618 in June 2015. In July 2016 it was almost 100,000. European citizens still have the right to live and work in the UK, and will do for as long as the country is a member of the European Union, which it will be until it triggers Article 50, and for up to two years afterwards. But EU nationals still require permanent residence cards to guarantee certain rights, particularly settlement rights for non-EU family members. Theresa May has pointedly refused to guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently living and working in Britain after the UK leaves the EU, which has formed the centre of serious diplomatic row between Britain and EU officials.
Applications for Irish passports from British nationals have also reached a record high. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has said Theresa May must reassure EU nationals of their right to remain in the UK. “It’s becoming increasingly apparent to me from my discussions in Brussels with those that are likely to be involved in the negotiations that they are very concerned about the fact that we are not giving comfort and status to their citizens,” he told. “They have said to me, pretty well in terms, the UK should sort this out before March and that would ensure that the article 50 negotiations got off to a much better start than they will otherwise do so.”