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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

UK government to scrap £65 'right to stay' fee for EU citizens

She said anyone who has already applied will receive a refund.

EU citizens at a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
EU citizens at a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has confirmed her government will scrap the application fee for EU citizens who want to remain in the UK after Brexit.

EU citizens and their families had been asked to apply to a new settlement scheme to continue living there after June 2021. 

Irish citizens are not required to apply to the scheme, but other EU citizens were being asked to pay £65 if they were over 16 and £32.50 for those under 16 years of age. 

There was significant criticism of the scheme at the end of last year with many EU citizens expressing anger at having to pay to remain in Britain. Today the prime minister said the scheme would go ahead but without the need to pay a fee. 

“Having listened to concerns from members and organisations like The3Million group I can confirm today when we roll out the scheme in full on the 30th of March the government will waive the application fee so that there is no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay,” she told MPs in Westminster. 

“And anyone who has or will apply during a pilot phase will have their fee reimbursed.”

May made the comments as she announced her much-anticipated “plan B” on Brexit following last week’s defeat of her original deal. She told MPs she plans to return to Brussels to discuss changes to the deal she agreed with EU leaders last month.

May said she believes progress can be made on the Irish backstop and she will be consulting with MPs about possible changes before going back to the EU for further talks. 

The UK prime minister ruled out holding a second referendum, as she said it would create a concerning precedent. 

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