Immigration enforcement officials will begin giving EU citizens who live in the UK a 28-day warning to apply to remain.
The Home Office will allow people indefinite time to complete an application for settled status if they have a reasonable excuse for a delay. There is now just one week to go until the deadline for applications.
More than 5.5million citizens and their dependents from the European Economic Area have applied for settled status, but there are still around 400,000 cases outstanding, and the government’s helpline is receiving thousands of calls every day.
After the 2016 Brexit referendum, which took place exactly five years ago, settled status was introduced for citizens of the EU and EEA living in the UK, allowing them to retain the same rights of residence, travel, employment and access to healthcare and benefits.
The countries whose nationals have made the highest numbers of applications are Poland (975,000) and Romania (918,000).
Immigration minister Kevin Foster said anyone whose application was not concluded by next week’s deadline would not lose out, as their rights were protected in law. But he confirmed that immigration enforcement officials would begin issuing 28-day notices to people, advising them to apply for settled status.
Migrants’ groups have already voiced their concerns that children could be among those who had not applied.