More Hungarians Live in the UK Than Official Statistics Show
Fanni Kaszás 2020.02.18.
In January, the number of Hungarians applying for settled status in the United Kingdom due to Brexit reached a milestone. With more than 9,000 new applications, the number of those applied surpassed 88,000, which means that by now more people have requested settled status than those whom the Office for National Statistics (ONS) registered as living in the country. EU nationals still have one and a half years to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, so the number of Hungarians living in the UK can be several times more than official statistics show.
In the first month of this year, 9,100 Hungarians applied for settled status in the UK due to Brexit, more than double the November and December numbers according to a recent Home Office release. This means that a total of 88,500 Hungarians have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme so far. The number is curious though, because according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), back in 2019, only 88,000 Hungarians lived in the UK.
EU citizens residing in the UK can continue to work or study there until the end of this year; however, any EU citizen who wants to stay in the UK with their existing rights must register for Britain’s EU Settlement Scheme until June 30, 2021. If the application is accepted, those registered will either have settled or pre-settled status. Those EU citizens who have lived in the UK for a continuous period of five years receive settled status, which grants the right to stay in the country indefinitely.
Economic site Portfolio.hu estimates the number of Hungarians living in the UK to be around 200-220,000. The registrations for settled status seem to back this, as almost one and a half years prior to the registration deadline, the number is close to 90,000. The website’s opinion is shared by the British Embassy in Budapest. They say that statistics provided by ONS only show those who are registered in the country. However, due to the free movement of workers in the EU, it is not compulsory to register, so the real number may be much higher.
Although the UK officially left the EU at midnight on Friday, 31st of January, the British will have to conclude a new trade agreement with the European Union by the end of the year. Although the UK MEPs lost their seats in the EP and the country will no longer have any say in the affairs of the European Union, for the next 11 months of its “transition period,” the UK will continue to apply and be bound by all EU laws, meaning that practically nothing has changed since February 1st. Applications for settled status can be requested free of charge until July 2021.