EU citizens living and working in Scotland make an invaluable contribution to our society, culture and economy, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said today.
At an event in Edinburgh to celebrate the positive impact of EU citizens, the First Minister announced additional funding for the Stay in Scotland campaign. The campaign has so far awarded more than £570,000 to provide practical advice, support and information to EU citizens.
Citizens Advice Scotland will now receive an extra £10,000 to expand legal support services for those with more complex cases applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. In addition, JustRight Scotland, a legal centre for justice and human rights, will get £7,000 to develop guidance for EU citizens explaining their rights to vote and access healthcare, education, housing and benefits.
While Scotland’s population is at a record high of 5.4 million, the increase is solely down to migration. All of Scotland's population growth for the next 25 years is projected to come from migration in contrast to the rest of the UK.
The impact of Brexit is expected to exacerbate the risk of skills gaps and labour shortages with the end of free movement making it harder for people in the EU to come and work in Scotland.
The First Minister said:
“We are stepping up efforts to support EU citizens and their families through our Stay in Scotland campaign.
“Since the EU referendum, EU citizens have been forced to live with unacceptable levels of uncertainty as to how Brexit will affect their lives, their careers and their families.
“I want to make it clear today that we welcome EU citizens and celebrate the invaluable role they play in building our communities, economy and culture.
“Scotland needs to maintain inward migration to help grow our population and economy which is why EU citizens are welcome to live, work and study here.”
Jen Ang, director of JustRight Scotland, said:
“We are delighted the SNP Government is supporting us to produce clear, accessible information for EU citizens living in Scotland.
“We are aware through our work and partnerships with frontline advocacy organisations that EU citizens continue to experience a great deal of uncertainty about their rights and how they will be impacted by Brexit.
“We are hopeful the multi-lingual and accessible resources we are able to produce with this funding will go some way to ensuring EU citizens feel more confident and supported in understanding their rights and in knowing where to access help and further information when they need to.”
EU citizens have to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement scheme in order to continue to stay in the UK after Brexit.
The Stay in Scotland campaign was launched in April 2019 to provide information and practical support for EU citizens in Scotland.