In the last two months, a fall in EU nationals applying for settled status raised fears that the pandemic is making it hard for people to register.
The most recent government figures have shown that only 67,300 applications were made to the European Union settlement scheme in the month of April, as compared to the month of February.
Due to the closure of phone advice lines, local scanning centres, the ability to send in documents and drop in face-to-face interaction has damaged the ability of people to apply.
A researcher with citizens’ rights group the3million, Kuba Jablonowski has said the statistics showed that the settlement scheme had “slowed down massively”.
He also said: “It’s impossible to maintain now that closures of phone advice lines, local scanning centres, and inability to send in documents had no impact.”
The 57 charities allotted funding by the Home Office to support susceptible EU nationals to apply to the scheme, said that giving assistance is considerably more challenging when they cannot meet applicants face-to-face.
In response to the latest figures, the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: “EU citizens continue to make huge contributions to our country with many European doctors and nurses playing a key role on the front line in the fight against Coronavirus.
“I am pleased we’ve already had more than 3.5 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme, with over a year left until the deadline. I encourage all those who haven’t already done so to apply now.”