According to the British Home Office, as of 31 March, 444,490 applications from Portuguese citizens had entered the EU Settlement Scheme [EU Settlement Scheme, EUSS] system, of which 431,130 were processed.

Of these, 241,320 received permanent status, 160,750 provisional title and 29,060 were rejected, invalidated or considered void.

As of 31 March 2022, only 24,960 Portuguese residents in the United Kingdom had moved from provisional status ('pre-settled status') to permanent status ('settled status'), granted after five years of continuous residence in the country.

This change must be made before provisional status expires, once the five-year period has been reached, and entails repeating the application method done earlier, along with proof of “continuous residency” or justification for extended absences.

Portuguese unaware

The process is mandatory for anyone wishing to maintain the right to live, work or study in the country, but some organisations fear that many forget or are not aware of its importance.

A study by the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory published in March warned of obstacles in updating Britain's post-Brexit residency statute because it requires more information.

"Providing evidence is more difficult for some groups that do not have regular relations with public bodies, such as the homeless, informal workers or some non-working women who take care of children", stresses the document.

Vulnerable people such as the elderly, minors in social services, prisoners, face additional challenges due to lack of information, digital skills or a language barrier.