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First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have urged EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who want to continue living and working here to submit their EU Settlement Scheme applications before the June 30 deadline.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK need to apply via the Home Office to the EU Settlement Scheme, to ensure they retain their existing rights after June this year.

“The many EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who live and work here make a valuable contribution to our society, culture and economy, and latest government figures show 92,000 applications to the Settlement Scheme have already been received from people in Northern Ireland.  However, there are indications that there are still people who are eligible to apply who have not yet done so.

“Under the Scheme, an application must be made for every eligible child within a family. And I would appeal to parents to apply on behalf of their children, even if they have already applied and been granted a status themselves.

“In addition to running a public information campaign to raise awareness of this important issue, The Executive Office has also been working with key stakeholders to get the message out that anyone who wants to apply to the Scheme must do so before June 30. So I would encourage anyone who has not yet done so to submit their application before the deadline.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “This must be a time of great uncertainty and worry for many EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have made this their home but who now find themselves having to apply to protect their rights to continue to live and work here.

“These are people who have made a huge contribution to so many aspects of our society, culture and economy, making this a more diverse and better place to live.

“The latest figures suggest that the majority of those who need to submit applications to the Scheme have done so, but we know there are others who haven’t yet applied. These could be older or vulnerable people, those who have been living here for many years and may be unaware that they need to apply, or others who simply are concerned about doing so.

“Some may have difficulties overcoming the language barrier. Others may have problems accessing information online or just be overwhelmed by the process. But it is vital that all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens apply to the Scheme so that they can continue to live, work and study here, and access free healthcare and any benefits to which they are entitled.

“For anyone having problems with the application process, help and support is available. I would appeal to anyone who has yet to apply, please do so before the June 30 deadline.”

Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme is free and a range of support services are available to those who need help to apply.

Further information about the scheme is available online at nidirect - WWW.NIDIRECT.GOV.UK and WWW.GOV.UK

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