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Britons told to leave Denmark over late residence applications could get reprieve

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Britons told to leave Denmark over late residence applications could get reprieve
Danish immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek - here pictured when the coalition government was announced - has said help is on the way to British residents of Denmark who missed a post-Brexit deadline to renew their residence permits. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

A large number of British nationals who face having to leave Denmark after missing a deadline to renew residence permits after Brexit could have their cases reassessed.

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Over 350 UK nationals resident in Denmark did not meet a December 31st 2021 deadline to submit applications to renew their residency permits under Denmark’s application of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

This resulted in many not having their residence permits renewed, but they may now be allowed to remain in the country after the immigration ministry said it wanted to help them.

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Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek confirmed in a written comment to newspaper Politiken that the affected British citizens in Denmark would be given assistance with the aim of enabling them to stay in the country.

“It has always been the government’s intention to make it easy and smooth for British citizens to stay in Denmark after Brexit. That’s why we must give a helping hand to those who did not apply in time,” Bek told the newspaper.

“I look forward to us hopefully soon being able to present a solution,” the minister said. 

The affected British nationals faced having to leave Denmark after the authority that processes the applications, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), began rejecting applications that were submitted late without what it deemed to be “reasonable” cause for a late submission.

The issue was complicated because SIRI did not send information letters about the application deadline directly to people who moved to Denmark from the UK after January 31st, 2020.

That meant many people – potentially in the thousands – were not directly notified that they needed to submit an application to update their residence status before December 31st, 2021. SIRI has previously stated it viewed “the circumstance that an applicant has not received an orientation letter is not, by our assessment, enough reason in itself for him or her not to comply with the application deadline”.

SIRI did send letters to over 19,000 British nationals in Denmark, but only to earlier movers -- not those who registered after moving to the country between February and December 2020. Some 17,811 applications were received by SIRI before the deadline. 

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According to figures provided by SIRI to The Local in January, 352 late applications have so far been received by the agency. Of these, 50 were rejected while 179 were pending. Some 113 had been approved despite late submission and 10 lapsed without an outcome. The figures cover late submissions from persons who both did and did not receive the information letters.

The Local has previously reported on individual Britons who faced having to leave homes, jobs and loved ones in Denmark over the issue.

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Because of ongoing work at government level to find a resolution for the affected Britons, SIRI is no longer asking British nationals who submitted late applications to leave Denmark.

In a statement on its website, the agency wrote that “The Ministry of Immigration and Integration has stated that it seeks to find a solution for UK citizens and their family members who have not submitted an application for new residence documents under the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom before the deadline expired on 31 December 2021.”

“Following this statement… SIRI has decided that for the time being, SIRI will not reject pending applications with no reasonable reasons for not having met the deadline. Instead, these cases will be put on hold,” it said.

 

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