Surrey sees 56,000 Europeans remain in the county after Brexit – here’s the area breakdown

More than 56,000 Surrey-based European nationals were granted the right to remain in the UK before Brexit was finalised.

The EU Settlement Scheme gives those from the continent who lived in Britain before December 31, 2020, the ability to apply for settled or pre-settled status.

Those living in the UK for more than five years were automatically granted settled status that entitles them permanent residency.

Find out how you can get more news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox HERE.

Pre-settled status is for those who have lived here for less than five years. This can be changed to settled status once they have accrued five years of continuous residence.

Vicky Kispeter and Jimmy Jonas moved to the UK in 2009 to work in Surrey, after leaving Hungary.

They are allowed to stay indefinitely, but do not get British citizenship with their settled status.

Mr Jonas added: “Our original plan was only to stay for six months but plans changed for one word – money.

“Our salaries were good for Hungarian levels but did not compare to what you can earn here. Without degrees, you can only earn around £500 per month there.

“It was a no-brainer because very quickly we got nice jobs and could pay our debts in Hungary and begin saving.”

Hungarian couple Vicky Kispeter and Jimmy Jonas moved to the UK in 2009 and have been granted settled status

They have since had a daughter and said despite considering moving home at this point, believed the opportunity for their daughter to learn English fluently was too good to pass up.

The couple have not faced any hostility based on their nationality, insisting they instantly felt welcome and were not treated as strangers.

Mr Jonas explained: “It is because we were always trying to be positive towards everybody that we felt this.

“But we try to put ourselves around good people and avoid those behaving in a difficult or strange way. We would do this in Hungary, too.

“We have far more English than Hungarian friends here. When you live here, you have to become British and take on the language.

“However, we know some people that have been here for seven years and still do not have a GP account. It makes you think, why don’t you do these things?”

Area by area breakdown

Woking was the borough with the highest number of successful applicants (8,470) made between August 2018 and September 2020.

There were 180 applicants with other outcomes, meaning they were withdrawn, void or rejected.

Guildford had the second greatest total with 8,340, of which more than 4,500 were given permanent status.

Elmbridge had just over 8,000 applicants given some form of settled status, while 150 were thrown out.

Polish nationals topped the chart for most applications in seven of the 11 districts and boroughs.

Romanians were responsible for the most Home Office applications in Woking, Waverley and Runnymede, while the Portuguese settled the most in Epsom and Ewell.

Italians were the third highest nationality in terms of applications nationally, which was reflected in Surrey as 7,050 applied for settled status.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street
(Image: PA)

Reigate and Banstead had 6,380 people remain, Waverley had 4,220 and Surrey Heath saw 3,470 stay.

Epsom and Ewell had 4,696 migrants given permission to remain, Runnymede 5,420 and Mole Valley 2,880.

Spelthorne had 6,790 accepted to stay. Tandridge had the fewest migrants apply to settle, with 2,000.

Kent registered almost 7,000 more applications than Surrey, but has a population 660,000 larger.

The South East had the highest proportion of applications from those aged 65 or over.

Across the country, more than 3,750,000 applications from EU nationals were submitted and 91% of them came from England.

Surrey Live – News