EU citizens will not automatically be deported if they fail to sign up to the settled status scheme by the 2021 deadline, Downing Street has said.
The confirmation comes after European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said he had been given the assurance by the UK government.
Under the settlement scheme, EU citizens living in the UK can apply to stay in the country after Brexit.
So far the number of applicants to the scheme has hit more than 2.7 million.
Nearly 2.5 million EU citizens have been told they can live and work in the UK after Brexit, while six “serious or persistent” criminals have had their applications rejected.
The deadline for applying to the scheme is 30 June 2021.
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Mr Verhofstadt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he believed those who missed the deadline would still be able to apply for settled status after “giving grounds why it was not possible to do it within the normal procedures”.
“There will be no automatic deportation,” he added.
In October last year, Home Office minister Brandon Lewis told German newspaper Die Welt: “If EU citizens until this point of time have not registered and have no adequate reason for it, then the valid immigration rules will be applied.”
When pressed on whether that would include…