EU citizens affected by changes to the immigration rules as a result of Brexit are to be offered extra support and advice.
The EU Citizens’ Rights Project, backed by £50,000 from the Scottish Government, will deliver nationwide events to raise awareness about what they need to do to stay in Scotland after Brexit.
The focus will be on helping vulnerable EU citizens who may have more complex needs or who may face barriers to applying for settled status, and may need additional support. Immigration lawyers will offer expert advice and interpretation will be available where appropriate.
Migration Minister Ben Macpherson said:
EU citizens significantly enrich our society and make a huge contribution to Scotland’s economy and public services. My message to them is simple: you will always be welcome in Scotland, we want you to stay and we will support you to stay. That is why the Scottish Government launched our Stay in Scotland campaign earlier this year.
It is deplorable that the UK Government is forcing EU citizens to apply to retain their existing rights, and we continue to urge the UK Government to implement a declaratory system. However, we also want to ensure that people remain in Scotland and that they are informed and supported when applying for settled status.
That is why we are funding the Citizens’ Rights Project to deliver a series of outreach and information events for EU citizens and their families across Scotland. These events will raise awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme, provide applicants with the necessary information, and signpost to available support to help people to stay.
Noelia Martinez, Project Coordinator for the Citizens Rights Project, said:
This type of support is extremely important for EU citizens in Scotland who are concerned about what would happen to their rights after Brexit. Many, like myself, have successfully applied for Settled Status, but we know from our previous outreach and information work that there are still lots of EU citizens who are not sure about how to apply or have faced difficulties in making an application.
This further funding is very welcome, as it will allow us to continue our work, with an emphasis in particular on reaching vulnerable EU citizens, and those who live in more remote areas of Scotland.