The Citizens Advice network in Scotland will receive extra funding to help EU citizens navigate immigration rules as part of Scottish Brexit preparation measures.
The Scottish government has agreed to provide additional funding of £800,000 (€887,236) over three years to Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country. Bureaux will begin to extend their services immediately as Scottish Brexit preparation intensifies, with the aim of establishing full advice and support services for the 223,000 EU citizens resident in Scotland by the beginning of March 2019, shortly before the UK is set to leave the European Union.
The funding will enable Citizens Advice Bureaux to provide advice on the rights, entitlements and requirements for EU citizens remaining in Scotland after Brexit – due to the Scottish government’s devolved status, many of these will differ from UK-wide rights and requirements. A solicitor-led helpline will be established using the Scottish Brexit preparation funding, to address complex residency cases.
The UK government plans to introduce a settlement scheme for EU citizens and their families in March, whereby Europeans who want to remain in the UK after it leaves the EU will be required to apply for residency rights through an online system.
Scottish Migration Minister Ben Macpherson, who has been active in Scottish Brexit preparation and planning, said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to doing all it can to speak up for and in support of EU citizens at this uncertain and anxious time. Scotland is a welcoming and progressive nation and we deeply value the huge contribution of all those who have chosen to make their home here. We passionately want relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues from other EU countries to stay in Scotland – and that is why this funding will help to give people reassurances about their rights and access advice about how to secure settled status through the UK Government’s immigration system.”