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EU citizens who live in the UK could be deported after Brexit if they do not apply for settled status and the right to remain by the deadline, a Home Office minister has said.
Brandon Lewis said people may be forced to leave the UK if they do not sign up to the EU settlement scheme by the end of 2020 - even if they meet all requirements for a residence permit.
Comments - Campaign - Group - Time - Reality
His comments prompted a campaign group to warn that this was the first time the 'grim reality' of the government's position had been confirmed as the Liberal Democrats branded the remarks 'totally unacceptable'.
The Home Office has made it clear that those with 'reasonable grounds' for missing the date would be granted an extension to apply for the right to live and work in the UK.
Mr - Lewis - Newspaper - Die - Welt
Mr 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.'
Pressed on whether that would include those who met the legal requirements for residence but did not apply in the next 14 months, he replied: 'Theoretically yes. We will apply the rules.'
People - Scheme - Home - Office - Figures
Two million people have so far applied to the scheme, according to Home Office figures.
But that leaves hundreds of thousands more EU citizens who live in the UK who still need to apply for settled status before the deadline.
Maike - Bohn - Spokeswoman - Campaign - Group
Maike Bohn, a spokeswoman for campaign group the3million, said the organisation - which represents EU citizens who live in the UK - had pressed the government 'for years'...
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