The British government is offering cash payments of up to £2,000 to European Union citizens to leave the UK and resettle on the continent.
Under the government’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), all EU migrants who arrived during the UK’s membership of the bloc, or during the transition period, are eligible to apply for settled status in the UK. Despite the UK leaving the EU’s institutions on December 31st, 2020, the EUSS’s deadline for registration is June 30th, 2021.
However, as of January 1st, EU citizens had quietly been added to a government migrant voluntary returns programme, where EU nationals are offered financial support, including free flights, to assist them in moving back to their country of origin, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
According to the government’s website, amongst those who are eligible for handouts from the voluntary returns scheme include migrants who are in the country illegally or have overstayed their visa or permission to remain.
Others eligible for the £2,000 payout include migrants who have withdrawn or want to withdraw their application to stay in the UK. Asylum seekers who have claimed asylum but want to withdraw that claim are also eligible, as well as those who have been refused asylum.
A Home Office spokesman told The Guardian: “We have now had almost 4.9m applications to the hugely successful EU settlement scheme. There is now less than six months before the 30 June 2021 deadline and I would encourage all those eligible to apply now to secure their rights under UK law.”
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The Home Office spokesman went on to say: “A wide range of support is available online and over the telephone if you need it and we are funding 72 organisations across the UK to ensure no one gets left behind.
“Some people may choose not to obtain status under EUSS and may not wish to remain in the UK after the deadline. That is why we have written to stakeholders to inform them that EEA nationals who wish to leave the UK may now be eligible for support to help them do so under the voluntary returns scheme.”
Over the past year, the UK has seen its debt rise by some £271 billion, with a near-record £34 billion in government borrowing in December alone.
The massive rise in government spending and borrowing comes in large part as a result of the Chinese coronavirus crisis and the economic damage inflicted by the government’s lockdown policies.
The country’s budget deficit is expected to be the largest in peacetime history this year, and tax hikes are expected to be introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, including a possible tax rise on corporations — despite the struggles that British businesses are facing.
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