Half a million Poles make UK their home
ROMANIANS and Poles make up a third of all EU nationals who have applied for settled status to remain in the UK, Home Office figures show.
The number of Poles who applied to permanently reside in the UK rose to 512,310 by the end of last year, with 435,690 Romanians close behind.
There are three times as many Poles and Romanians as the next biggest nation of applicants, the Italians, who accounted for almost 300,000 of the 2.75 million EU nationals so far granted settled or pre-settled status.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said more than 3 million EU nationals – of a potential estimated 3.4 million in the UK – had applied for settled status ahead of next summer’s deadline.
It came as a record 90 migrants – including 15 children – were picked up by Border Force officers in the English Channel as they tried to reach the UK in small boats yesterday morning. It surpassed the previous high on a single day of 86, on Sept 10 last year. Natalie
Elphicke, the Dover MP, said a “fresh approach” was needed and migrants should be returned to France regardless of where they are intercepted.
Increasing numbers of Poles – who have longer ties to the UK than Romanians – have returned home as the Polish economy has improved and the falling exchange rate has depressed the relative value of their UK wages.
Last month, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, urged Poles living in the UK to return home to help
grow Poland’s economy. “More and more are coming back and I’m pleased about that because there is a low level of unemployment,” he said. “Give us our people back.”
By contrast, the number of Romanians living in the UK has increased tenfold from 42,000 a decade ago, with a net 46,000 a year moving to the UK after restrictions on their rights to work in the UK were lifted in 2014.
Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, overtook the Republic of Ireland and India to move from fourth to second most common non-british nationality in the UK in 2018, after the Poles who have an estimated 1million in the UK.
Between three and five million Romanians – from a country with 19.6million citizens – live and work abroad. Most – around 2.6million – are of working age, representing almost a fifth of its labour force. Around one in 10 of those migrants are now in the UK.
Research suggests that most come here to better their lives, not to take benefits.
Of the total 3 million applications for settled status, 386,570 were by children under 18 (14 per cent) and 59,100 from people aged 65 and over (2 per cent).
Almost a million applications were made by people living in London.
A lifeboat approaches a small craft thought to be carrying migrants off the Kent coast yesterday, a day in which a record 90 migrants were picked up by Border Force officers