In February, 5,500 Hungarians asked for a permanent residency permit, so the total number of Hungarians asking for the document rose to 94 thousand. This might be less than half of the Hungarians living in the UK. All EU citizens have time until July 2021 to decide whether they would like to remain in the United Kingdom or not.
According to Portfolio, all citizens of the EU who arrived in the country before January 2020 are entitled to register in the local Home Office bureaus from spring 2019 to July 2021. Since the Home Office publishes the number of applicants from each country,
it is easy to follow how many Hungarians would like to continue their lives in the United Kingdom.
Based on the February numbers, an additional 5,500 Hungarians handed in their applications for a permanent residency permit, which they will automatically get thanks to the simplified registration system. Numbers around 5,000 can be regarded as the average, but in January, this increased to 9,100.
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The total number of Hungarians who would like to remain in the United Kingdom is 94 thousand, and authorities expect that it will exceed 100 thousand in a couple of months. Portfolio stresses that the high number of registration verifies that the real number of Hungarians living in the country is much higher than what official data says (88 thousand), and
it might be around 220-230 thousand.
The British embassy in Budapest agrees with Portfolio‘s calculations, saying that 88 thousand is just the number of those who have already registered. However, since registration was not compulsory in the European Union, many do live or have lived there without it. Therefore, the embassy says that the number of around 200-250 thousand people is much more realistic than 88 thousand.
The same happened in the case of Bulgarians and Romanians: there are more people who have already applied for a permanent residency permit than the official number of Bulgarians and Romanians living in the United Kingdom was.
The coronavirus epidemic will probably affect the registration process, too, since the bureaus where people can register will close. Of course, those who want to stay can hand in the relevant documents later. The worst consequence is that many will lose their jobs because of the virus, so
it might happen that many Hungarians will decide to come home.
Especially because most guest workers are employed in the tourism and catering sector, which is hit hard by the epidemic.