The Home Office has a backlog of 400,000 applications from EU citizens and their families to stay in the UK after Brexit, according to the latest government data.
The latest monthly statistics for the EU’s settlement system also reveal the total number of claims now at over 6.2 million. This includes no less than 172,000 applications filed after the June 30 deadline for establishment status.
The Home Office warns that around 472,000 of the total were repeat applications and that the number filed since June 30 includes family members of those who already have the status.
But that also includes requests for people to switch from the pre-established status granted to those in Britain for less than five years to the established status, which is granted to those who have been in the country for more than five years.
A number of applications may have been granted to EU citizens who have left the country and want an insurance policy for potential return after a family or business move abroad.
Even with the caveats, the data places the number of EU citizens potentially wishing to stay in the UK at 2 million more than initial estimates in 2016.
The Home Office says net figures show 5.55 million people had applied for the program by the June 30 deadline.
Of the 5.8 million claims already examined and concluded, just over 3 million have settled status and 2.4 million have pre-settled status.
Some 165,000 applications (3%) were refused and just under 100,000 withdrawn, and 89,000 were deemed invalid or ineligible for permanent resident status.
The figures also show that 114,000 requests were processed last month, further reducing the backlog, which was close to 600,000 in June.
No figures have been released for the number of EU citizens married to UK citizens living in the EU before Brexit that are in the process of being settled.
The Home Office has received numerous complaints that it takes up to six months or more to obtain a family permit, which is a prerequisite for applying for settlement status in the EU for spouses or lasting partners of UK citizens, by the March 29 deadline.
These claimants, known as the Surinder Singh case after a legal precedent in 1992, are handled by a separate team. The Home Office said the time taken to process applications is due to a combination of high volumes of applications and the complexity of collecting the evidence needed to establish that the UK citizen was exercising their free movement rights and had established a life in the EU in the first place.