A DUTCHMAN who has lived in the Tyne Valley for 35 years has welcomed news that over 2,000 EU nationals will remain living in Northumberland following Brexit.

But Peter Samsom, who organises Hexham Farmers’ Market, has expressed sympathy with those who had to endure a stressful application process.

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

Those who have lived in the UK for five years can receive settled status and remain in the country indefinitely, provided they meet the criteria.

It was different for Peter and his wife Fransje, who moved to the district together from Holland in January 1986, and getting married in December of the same year.

For legislation dictates that people who arrived in Britain prior to 1989 were entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain under the Windrush Scheme.

“Brexit has been a very stressful process for many people,” said Peter, of Wark. “It has taken four-and-a-half years to get to this point.

“In most cases, people want to settle and get on with their lives, but this has brought about a lot of uncertainty.

“Ourselves and other EU nationals have been made to feel so welcome here, and that hasn’t changed. But because of Brexit, it makes you feel as if the ground you are standing on is particularly uncertain.”

Home Office figures revealed that by the end of September 2020, 2,070 people successfully applied to continue living in the area after December 31.

Hexham's MP Guy Opperman said: "I welcome the fact that 99 per cent of applications to the EU Settlement Scheme have been approved and will assist anybody who needs further help.

"Although we have left the EU, we remain close partners with our friends and neighbours in Europe."