EU regulation: comments from Portuguese residents of Great Yarmouth
Portuguese residents of Great Yarmouth have shared their love for their ‘second home’ after figures showed more than 8,000 EU nationals have been allowed to stay in the city.
Home Office data shows that 8,230 EU citizens had successfully applied to continue living in Great Yarmouth by June 30.
The EU Settlement Program was launched in March 2019 to regulate the immigration status of EU citizens living in the UK.
Approximately 1,360 applications were submitted in the last three months of the program opening – 14% of all applications received at Great Yarmouth.
The main nationalities to apply were Portugal, Romania and Lithuania – with over 3,500 applications from Portuguese.
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Dulce Duca is a circus artist with Out There Arts.
She moved to Great Yarmouth in 2018 to be closer to her partner and also because the city is “the epicenter of the circus in the UK”.
“I thought ‘what better place to be’,” Miss Duca said.
“I love the city’s art scene.
“Great Yarmouth has great potential to be a creative city.
“There are a lot of artists and artistic spaces like the Out There Arts Center, the Hippodrome, the St Georges Theater and the galleries.
“I love the way it transforms Great Yarmouth and makes it a special, unique and strong place.”
Mara Carmo, who runs the M and M Cafe Bar on King Street, has lived in the city for five years.
Miss Carmo, 31, first moved from Portugal to London, but left a good job to move to a quiet place to start a family.
“I already had friends in the city too,” she said.
“My partner and I have always wanted to start a business and it’s easier to start something in Yarmouth than in London.
“It’s good here. We have a life, a job and a home.
“But we have a mission with our company, and then we’ll have fun.”
Jose Santos, 42, left Portugal in 2001.
He started his life in the city working for Bernard Matthews, but eventually decided to go into business.
“I came to Great Yarmouth to make money,” Mr Santos said.
“But it’s also a second home. It’s pretty quiet, but I like the way things are constantly changing, especially over the past two years.
Luisa Ventura, 45, owns Coffee Ventura on Bridge Road and another on King Street.
Miss Ventura has been a resident of Yarmouth for five years, but her boyfriend has lived locally for fourteen years.
“I originally came for my boyfriend, but we decided to create a cafe and try to build it,” she said.
“I really like the city. It’s my second home. I think King Street could be a little better.
“Most of the people are great, but some can be a little disrespectful to the companies here.
“My clients come from so many different countries.”
EU citizens with few reasonable grounds not to meet the June deadline can still apply to assert their rights.
Those who have lived in the UK for five years and meet the criteria can obtain settlement status and stay in the country indefinitely.
Others who have lived in the country for a shorter period may be granted pre-settlement status, which allows them to stay for an additional five years. They can then apply for establishment status.
Some citizens who are not from the European Economic Area may also benefit from the program, for example if they are family members of EU citizens living in the UK.
The government has said that those who applied to the program before the June 30 deadline, but have not had a decision, have their rights protected until their application is decided.
Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, said: “I am delighted that thousands more have rightly been granted status thanks to the EU’s hugely successful settlement program.
“We continue to work as quickly as possible to close applications, as well as to support people with their late applications.
“Our message remains clear. The Home Office is looking for reasons to grant the status rather than refuse.
“I encourage anyone who is eligible who has not yet applied to get in touch and join the millions who have already secured their rights.”