There is an increased fear that all EU citizens who shifted to UK post-Brexit are at risk of becoming illegal as the British government is now diverting resources to fight the pandemic.
Under the current rule, all EU citizens have until June 2021 to apply for the settled status. However, the government's support to EU citizens would apparently reduce as the number of infections is on the rise.
Campaigners claim that this could hit the very care workers - NHS staff and delivery workers - who are helping the country deal with the virus.
The coronavirus crisis means that the entire system of applications is at risk of failing"
Campaign groups Another Europe is Possible and the Joint Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants have launched a campaign calling for the dropping of the ‘settled status' regime for EU citizens in light of the coronavirus crisis.
They say that much of the support needed to make settled status applications will not now be in place. The government has completely stopped accepting applications by post, and it has closed all of its scanning centres.
Zoe Gardner, of the Joint Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: "The coronavirus crisis means that the entire system of applications is at risk of failing.
"Support services to help people through the process are largely face to face and simply won't be able to function for a prolonged period, with charities designed to support vulnerable EU citizens severely limited in their ability to support vulnerable people."
According to reports, the UK government has already announced that the settled status processing service has been delayed by COVID-19. According to international media, the Home Office declined 300 applications in February, which the department said had been because applicants had failed to provide the government with the correct evidence or information. Britain has till now reported 19,522 cases of infection.
Alena Ivanova, from Another Europe is Possible, said: "Migrants have kept this country - its shops, farms, healthcare system and deliveries - running while the government has implemented cuts that have crippled our NHS and public services. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted that reality."
The process of getting a settled status takes about five days. To be eligible, EU citizens usually need to have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least six months in any 12-month period for five years in a row, international media reported.
The Home Office declined 300 applications in February, which the department said had been because applicants had failed to provide the government with the correct evidence or information.