According to the Independent Monitoring Authority for Citizens' Rights Agreements (IMA), 30 percent of the 3,000 respondents to the survey said they were either very insecure or not confident that their rights would be protected.

Of these, 44 percent fear being treated differently compared to the British, especially with regard to access to health, education, housing and social support, or not having recognized academic or professional qualifications.

Kathryn Chamberlain, director of IMA, a British independent agency linked to the Ministry of Justice created to monitor compliance with the European Union (EU) Withdrawal Agreement, stressed that the majority of respondents said they have a lot or some confidence that rights will be protected.

But, she admitted, “the fact that there is a big minority that has this lack of confidence is a challenge for public bodies in the UK, and it is not something that they should underestimate, it is something that they have to recognize very clearly and think about”.

The test will happen, she said at a meeting with foreign journalists, when problems start to emerge after 30 June, the deadline for Europeans to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Lack of confidence was one of the central issues mentioned in the survey and 10 percent of respondents said they are considering leaving the UK after 30 June, although Portuguese, Norwegians and Lithuanians are the most determined to stay.

Chamberlain was pleased that 90 percent of respondents had already applied for post-Brexit residency statute, whereby Europeans can keep the rights to live, work or study in British territory.

Asked about news that European citizens are being held in immigrant centres in the UK due to suspicions that they are immigrating without the necessary work visas, Chamberlain said the IMA has not received a complaint and that it is awaiting information from the Government about this.