Officials signalled the Home Office had no clear idea of the actual number of Europeans who may take up “settled status” under Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s plans.

But estimates now range from as low as 3.2 million to as high as 3.8 million – far more than previously thought.

And officials admitted the plans give EU nationals more “generous” settlement rights than those on offer to Brits. Under the scheme:

  • Any EU national here by the end of 2020 will be given five years to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
  • They will get a "lifetime right" to bring in their entire close family, kids, spouse, parents, grandparents – even if they are outside the EU.
  • They can bring in their girlfriend or boyfriend – a "durable partner" if they can prove they have been together for two years.
  • Hardened EU criminals and rapists living in the UK could also be given "settled status" if they no longer pose a “serious threat”.
PA:Press Association
Sajid Javid demanded that the EU spell out what they will do to help Brits abroad

Theresa May has already agreed that 3 million EU nationals living in the UK can remain for life – if they apply for settled status.

Details of the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ confirm promises made by Theresa May to Brussels during the Brexit negotiations but they are still likely to infuriate hardline Tories.

The Home Office confirmed the Sun’s revelations that EU nationals applying for settled status will be charged £65 for each application – but said the cash would not cover the cost of the mammoth scheme.

Sources insisted the Home Office was prepared for the huge scale of work the scheme will entail given the Windrush debacle. EU nationals will be able to apply online, over phone apps by taking a selfie and scanning their passports or through face-to-face meetings in local libraries.

They will double the size of their European casework team from 700 to 1500 to cope with the extra work.

Europeans were also promised the Home Office will rubber stamp applications to remain in Britain “within a few days” – giving security and peace of mind to people who  have made their lives here legally.

Fears for expats living in Europe as EU bosses 'refuse to guarantee they'll be able to stay after Brexit'

He is concerned that EU member states haven't yet said what Brits living abroad need to do in order to stay there after we leave the bloc.

In a statement Mr Javid said: “Publishing details of how we will administer our settled status scheme shows we are honouring commitments made towards EU citizens living in the UK.

“But I am concerned that I have not seen any similar plans on how EU member states are going to support British nationals in their countries.

“This is not good enough and I hope both the European Parliament and Commission will exert more pressure for them to do this as soon as possible.”

Under current plans, the 1.2 million Brits living in the EU will only reserve the right to stay in their “host” country but would lose their current free movement rights.

But Mr Javid wants guarantees that will be able to stay and treated fairly.

If we left without a deal it would be up to individual countries to decide what to do.

He's previously said he will raise it with the EU Commission and urged MEPs to make it a top focus in Brussels.

EU sources told the Sun last month that they were "pushing the Commission and Council on this. We have repeatedly called for free movement rights for UK citizens."

Mr Javid told a Lords Committee this morning that France and Spain needed to "do more and say more".

He added: "I have every belief they will honour what they say, but we would like to see more movement."

Speaking earlier today to a cross-party committee of peers, Mr Javid admitted: “Nothing like this has ever been done before.” He said the scheme would go live from the autumn and urged EU nationals to apply as soon as they could.

He said: “The concern I’d have is that if people decide to put this off and wait until the end of 2020 we don’t want 3 million people in one month.”

European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt met with Mr Javid to discuss the plans on Tuesday.

Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, the former Belgian PM said he still had concerns over the “cost” of the scheme but also how vulnerable Europeans living in Britain will be able to apply.

Say cheese! EU citizens can use a SELFIE to register to stay in UK

The Home Secretary described the process that EU nationals currently in the country will have to go through after Brexit.

He told a Lords committee today that minister want to "make it as simple as possible" and might not involve any paperwork having to be sent in to them.

Mr Javid said. "You have an app, you can put your passport next to your phone, and it will download your information.

"Then you can take a selfie – I'm sure you've done that many times – you download it too, and match the information downloaded with the chip and confirm it electronically."

Other details like National Insurance numbers would be taken through the app and cross referenced with existing information.

But he also had to admit that there was "an issue at the moment" with whether it would work on iPhones, because of problems with Apple's technology.

However, ministers are working on the issue with Apple, and hope to get it resolved in time for the app's launch in the autumn.

Mr Javid said he wanted trials to start in July with a full roll out following a few months later.

And for those less tech savvy EU citizens, Mr Javid said they would be setting up shop in libraries and local council buildings to help register people in person too.


 

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