EU citizens in Brighton and Hove are being urged to apply for a settlement scheme to remain in the city as the deadline is fast approaching.

All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who were resident in the UK by December 31 last year should apply without delay before June 30 so they can continue to work, study, and access free healthcare and benefits in the UK after the end of the month.

Tens of thousands of EU nationals have been granted permission to continue living in the city ahead of this month's application deadline, figures show.

A total of 28,230 of the city's EU citizens have now applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, with 26,330 successful applications made by the end of March, according to Home Office figures.

That figure was up from 24,240 by the end of December last year, when the Brexit transition period ended.

A new points-based immigration system came into place on January 1 and everyone arriving into the UK on or after that date will be subject to the new rules.

EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years, and meet certain criteria, can receive settled status and remain in the country indefinitely if they apply by June 30.

Those who have lived in the country for less time can obtain pre-settled status, and the chance to reapply for settled status once they have done so for five years.

In Brighton and Hove, 13,650 people had been granted settled status by March 31, and 12,680 granted pre-settled status – with 750 applications either refused, withdrawn or deemed invalid.

Councillor Marianna Ebel, chairwoman of the council’s Brexit working group, said: “With less than 30 days before the deadline of June 30, I urge all our EU citizens to apply to the scheme.

“We’re proud that our city is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive European destination and we want EU citizens to continue living, working and visiting our city.

"Brexit has not changed that, it’s a fundamental part of who we are.

“The figures released by the government are encouraging signs and I’m glad that so many EU residents want to stay with us and have taken steps to protect their rights."

In Brighton and Hove, the highest number of applications were submitted by people from Italy (4,690), followed by those from Spain (3,560) and Poland (2,850).

Across the UK, 385,000 people applied to the EU Settlement Scheme between January and March – down from 855,000 in the three months to December, and 713,000 during the first three months of last year.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “Covid has had an extraordinary impact on migration, and low migration from EU countries is one consequence of that.

"In fact, there’s evidence that net migration from EU countries was actually negative last year.

"Add to that the impact of a more expensive and restrictive visa system for EU citizens and it makes sense that not many have come under the post-Brexit immigration rules.”

Kevin Foster, minister for future borders and immigration, said if an EU resident has "reasonable grounds" for missing the deadline on June 30, they will be given further opportunity to apply.

The EU Settlement Scheme application process is free and there is support available at

To apply, visit