Tens of thousands of Britons living in countries across the EU have not registered as residents or obtained the necessary residency permits to secure their post-Brexit status.
A recent EU report highlights the fact that Britons living in the 27 member states are still waiting to obtain the necessary permits and with only weeks before the deadlines in certain countries many are likely yet to have even applied.
Overall some 190,000 Britons out of an estimated 300,000 Britons living in those EU countries which have made applying for post-Brexit residency permits compulsory – known as a constitutive system – had applied for the cards by the end of April.
In France for example, where the deadline to apply for a compulsory residency permit is June 30th, some 73,700 have received their necessary carte de séjour residency permits but around 26,000 were yet to have even applied by mid-April.
In Denmark, by the end of March, only 3,400 out of 19,000 resident Britons have applied for a residency permit but they have until the end of the year to do so.
In Austria only 3,100 out of 11,500 Brits had applied by the end of February, but they too have until December 31st to do so.
In Sweden, some 7,200 Britons out of an estimated 17,000 Britons living in the country had applied for residency. The deadline for applications in Sweden is September 30th.
There are concerns for Britons living in smaller countries like Malta and Luxembourg, where deadlines are approaching and thousands are yet to receive the necessary post-Brexit permits.
Citizens’ rights group British in Europe is calling for deadlines to be extended across all member states until December 31st.
In a statement on its website British in Europe said: “The report makes for depressing reading.
“By mid-April, less than half of the estimated 148,000 UK citizens living in France had applied for and received a decision on their application.
“In Luxembourg, the figure stood at just over 50 percent and in Malta, a paltry 37 percent of UK citizens had applied and received a decision. Overall, nearly one in five UK citizens in the countries with a June 30th deadline (France, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta and the Netherlands) had not even applied.
“These figures are shocking and should be a wake-up call to the Member States in question, as well as the European Commission and the UK.
“It is clear that thousands of UK citizens who are currently legally resident in their host states face waking up on July 1st as undocumented migrants. They could be fired from their jobs, made homeless, and lose access to social security, student grants and loans, and non-emergency healthcare yet no-one has spelled out the consequences of missing the deadline.”
The Netherlands has since extended its deadline to October 1st. Other countries could follow its example.
British in Europe says both EU governments and the UK must do more to ensure all Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are given legal residency.
“The communication plans and activities outlined in this report bear little or no relation to the reality we are seeing in host countries,” the group says.
“Although Member States have published website pages containing information about how to apply for a permit or request a card, only a handful have carried out any active outreach or awareness-raising campaigns via local, national or social media. The UK government too has an obligation here towards us which it is also not meeting.”
Netherlands has since extended its deadline to October 1st.
Other member states in the EU chose a declaratory system which meant the residency status of Britons living in the country before December 31st last year was guaranteed under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
Residents in these countries have mainly had to register their presence as a British resident before a certain date and in some cases have had the choice whether to apply for a new post-Brexit permit.
As the table below shows relatively few British residents compared to the overall total have applied for new residency permits.
For example in Italy only 5,300 out of an estimated 38,500 British residents had applied whilst in Spain some 115,600 out of an estimated 380,000 have requested the new document.
There was no available data for Britons in Germany.
It is likely the estimated number of Britons living in the EU is lower than the real figure.