MORE than 1,300 EU citizens living in Wyre Forest have applied to stay in the UK in the wake of Brexit, according to Home Office figures.

The EU Settlement Scheme is designed to make it straightforward for EU citizens and their family members to stay after the UK leaves the EU – guaranteeing their rights in UK law.

To apply they only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.

According to newly released official statistics up to the end of December 2019, there have been 1,380 applications to the scheme from Wyre Forest residents.

People of Romanian (480) and Polish (430) origin make up the majority of those applications.

Altogether, across the West Midlands, there have been more than 215,000 applications to the scheme with Birmingham (57,340), Coventry (23,420), Sandwell (20,080) and Wolverhampton (18,020) boasting the highest number of applications.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis said: “I’m delighted that there have been more than 215,000 applications to the EU Settlement Scheme from people living in the West Midlands.

“EU citizens are an integral part of our society, culture and community and the scheme guarantees their rights in UK law.

“I encourage all EU citizens in the West Midlands yet to apply to do so.”

Internal figures show that there have been more than three million applications to the scheme less than a year since it was fully launched to the public.

A wide range of support is available online, over the phone and in person to help EU citizens apply.

There are also more than 50 voluntary and community sector organisations – funded by the Home Office – which have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable EU citizens, including the homeless, elderly and domestic abuse victims.

This includes Father Hudson's Society, and the Refugee and Migrant Centre based in the West Midlands.

Pam Gill, Deputy CEO of the Refugee & Migrant Centre - Birmingham & Black Country, said: "We’ve helped almost 4,000 people to apply so far, including Italian, Spanish, Romanian and Dutch nationals.

“Our staff are knowledgeable, experienced, accredited and between them they speak all the EU languages.

"Many of the people we have helped have gone on to use our other services to get employment and housing related support.

“We continue to encourage EU citizens in our Birmingham & Black Country location to contact us if they need support with their applications.”

With the UK leaving the EU, free movement will come to an end, meaning EEA (European Economic Area) citizens resident in the UK, and their family members, need to obtain a status in order to evidence their right to work, study, housing and benefits in the UK.