Hampshire County Council is encouraging EU citizens to register for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Brexit, the council wants to raise awareness of the scheme.

It's designed to protect the rights of "highly valued" EU citizens already living lawfully in the country.

Councilor Andrew Joy said: "We know that uncertainty over Brexit is a concern for many people.

"Over the past 12 months, the County Council has sought to provide assurance to its own staff and to signpost Hampshire's residents to the EU Settlement Scheme."

It's thought there are more than 40,000 non-UK EU residents living in Hampshire, and 9000 have already successfully registered.

The scheme involves an online registration process, which Joy is designed to help changes happen smoothly:

2027. "It's been designed to enable those non-UK EU citizens to remain free and to avoid being affected by plans for a new immigration system from 2021."

"Not only do they enrich our culture, but they also contribute to Hampshire's thriving economy.

"I think it's essential that we do not have to go to Hampshire.

"I hope they'll be happy to keep their right to remain."

Guidance on how to apply is on the Government's webpage here,

For those who do not have the skills or confidence to complete an online application form, the Citizens Advice Bureau can be contacted here,

People have until the end of December 2020 to apply (or until the end of June 2021 if the UK leaves with a deal).

The online application process involves scanning proof of ID, proof of residence and declaring any criminal activity.