MORE than three million EU citizens have applied to live and work in the UK after Brexit, according to the Home Office.

The department announced the latest up-to-date internal figures of how many people have applied under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Most of the applications, 92 per cent, were from people already living in England with five per cent, some 150,000, from Scotland and two per cent, 60,000, each in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Almost 1m applications were from people living in London. The east London borough of Newham saw the highest number at 68,510.

Outwith the UK capital among the top 10 local authorities were Birmingham with 57,340 applications, Manchester 41,430, Edinburgh 32,930, Bristol 25,990 and Glasgow 23,070.

Between August 28 2018 and December 31 last year more than 2.4m applications were finalised.

Of these, some 58 per cent, 1.4m, were granted settled status, a permanent right to remain, while 41 per cent, 1m, were handed pre-settled status, which gives them temporary permission to keep living in the country and the chance to reapply once they have done so for five years.

There were 12,950 applications void or withdrawn, 3,280 classed as "invalid" and six refused on suitability grounds; the applicants were regarded as serious or persistent criminals.

There were 386,570 applications received by children, 14 per cent, under the age of 18 while 59,100 were from people aged 65 and over, just two per cent.

The report said: "Northern Ireland had a noticeably higher proportion, 17 per cent, of applications from applicants under 18 compared to the rest of the UK."

Polish [512,310], Romanian [435,690] and Italian [290,990] nationals submitted the highest number of applications.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, described the scheme as the "biggest of its kind in British history," which would mean "EU citizens can evidence their rights for decades to come". She added: "It's now time for EU countries to adopt a similar scheme."

The Home Office explained that caseworkers had been processing up to 20,000 applications a day with more than 400,000 dealt with in October.

Under the scheme, EU citizens and their relatives, plus those from the European Economic Area [EEA] countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as well as Switzerland, are asked to apply to confirm their immigration status so they can live and work in the UK after June 30 2021 once the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement ends.

Relatives of EEA and Swiss citizens who are not from any of those countries but all live in the UK under EU law are also being urged to apply.

Once granted status, applicants can use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits, as well as travel in and out of the country.

But first they must prove their identity, show they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions.