THE European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has waded into the case of a senior academic in England’s education watchdog whose application for “settled status” was not granted.

Professor Daniel Muijs, head of research for Ofsted, is from Belgium and has worked in the UK for more than 20 years. He has not been accepted by the process for EU citizens who want to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit. He wrote on Twitter: “Have just found out my application for settled status in UK has been rejected. I now need to find evidence of residence since 2013. Not a good feeling.”

Verhofstadt responded: “This rings an alarm bell. If a Belgian professor who has given 20 years of his professional career to the benefit of the UK is struggling to be accepted for ‘settled status’, we may have a problem. Unacceptable.”

His intervention promoted numerous responses, including one from Katherine Mendelsohn, who agreed with Verhofstadt: “You are 100% right. My mother (born in wartime Berlin) came to Britain in 1960 and taught languages here for many years ... 60 years on she now faces (and dreads) going through this same process. Help us, please. Help the three million EU citizens living in the UK.”

Tom Bennett, the UK Government’s adviser on behaviour in school, replied to Muijs: “How ridiculous and distressing for you. I’m ashamed you’ve had to go through this process.”

The Home Office said he has not been “refused”, and that more information on his application was needed.

A spokesperson said: “This case has not been refused. We would encourage the applicant to make contact with the Settlement Resolution Centre, who will be able to assist him with his application.”

Around 17% of academic staff in UK universities – almost 36,000 people – are from the EU and university leaders have raised concerns that the end of freedom of movement could make it harder to recruit from the bloc.