A new £50,000 scheme called the EU Citizens’ Rights Project is being backed by the Scottish Government and aims to help people all over the country understand what they have to do to stay in Scotland after the UK leaves the bloc.
It will focus on giving additional assistance to vulnerable European nationals who might have more complex needs, or may be facing barriers to applying for settled status.
Where appropriate, immigration lawyers will also offer expert advice, along with interpreters where required.
Ben Macpherson, Scotland’s Migration Minister, 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 … 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.”
He added: “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, the project co-ordinator for the Citizens’ Rights Project, said she had already applied for settled status, but many other Europeans were unsure about it.
“This type of support is extremely important for EU citizens in Scotland who are concerned about what would happen to their rights after Brexit,” she said.
any, 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 applications. 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.”
The funding came less than eight weeks before the UK is due to leave the EU and as the European Commission reiterated its call for all EU27 stakeholders to prepare for a No-Deal scenario.
In updated advice, it said: “In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the withdrawal agreement – as agreed with the UK Government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a No-Deal scenario on November 1 2019, remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome.”