A POLISH woman who is one of more than 3,000 EU nationals living in Carlisle who have been granted the right to stay post-Brexit has spoken of the challenges faced by many after the vote.

Home Office figures shows about 3,000 EU nationals have successfully applied to continue living in Carlisle after Brexit, 300 in Copeland and 1,000 in Allerdale.

The UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016 and after more than four years of negotiations, the Brexit transition period ended yesterday with the UK leaving the single market and customs union.

Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU entered into law overnight after clearing Parliament on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said it marked a “new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as their biggest ally”.

Despite the jubilation of many Brexiteers, the vote left many fearing for their futures. EU nationals who had called the UK their home now faced the threat of deportation.

European Union nationals wishing to continue living in the UK must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by June 30, 2021.

One person who has already secured her status is Gosia Johnson, who moved to England from Poland in 2013. She is a teacher at Polish Saturday School in Carlisle.

"I've got to say we are pleased. The process wasn't hard or complicated, we didn't have to do anything. It was really great," she explained.

After sending off her passport to be verified, Gosia received word her application had been approved within a week.

EU nationals who have lived in the UK for five years and meet the criteria, can receive settled status and remain in the country indefinitely. Those who have lived in the country for less time can receive pre-settled status, which allows them to remain for a further five years.

They can later apply for settled status. Of 3,090 applications dealt with in Carlisle between August 2018 and September 30 2020, 1,910 granted applicants settled status and 1,090 pre-settled status.

About 80 applications were either refused, withdrawn, or invalid in Carlisle and about 10 each in Copeland and Allerdale.

Gosia said she was aware of some hostility towards people she knew in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

“I personally didn’t experience that,” she explained. “Some people did, particularly children. We saw for a couple of months after the vote there was a bit of a heated atmosphere.

“Recently though everything has calmed down. There was always a thing of, ‘you are not born here’ or ‘you have come here to steal jobs’.”

“I have never experienced anything like that but I know people who have.”

Andy Auld, CEO of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden (CACE) said it was “really positive” so many people had been approved.

“Despite the challenges brought by Covid-19 it is good to know there are 3,000 people who now have some peace of mind about their future – and, equally importantly, that they can continue to contribute positively to their communities in Carlisle,” he explained.

Mr Auld said CACE had helped with what “can be quite a stressful process” and had offered advice about how to apply.

“Lastly, not everyone has had the status decision they wanted," he added.

"We have helped people to apply again when they have been refused status, to ask for an administrative review or to appeal the decision."

Mr Auld assured anyone who has not yet applied there is still time.

In Carlisle, the highest number of applications was submitted by those from Poland (1,490), followed by Romania (560) and Portugal (220).