Citizens' Advice offer new support for European nationals to stay in Scotland after Brexit
Citizens Advice Scotland has launched a dedicated service to help EU, EEA and Swiss nationals remain in the UK amid concern about increased uncertainty and anxiety in the lead up to Brexit.
The EU Citizens Support service will have a full time phone helpline and specialist advisers in bureaus around Scotland.
The newly extended service is for people who might have some difficulty in applying to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme.
With funding from both the UK and Scottish governments, the Citizens’ Advice service will specifically focus on helping people who have limited access to the technology needed to apply settlement.
The service will also help people with particularly complex immigration or residency issues or those who find it difficult to get the evidence needed to apply.
Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson welcomed the news of the service.
He said: “The Scottish Government has a simple message for EU citizens in Scotland: you are welcome here, we want you to stay and we will help you to stay.”
“The service will be particularly helpful for more vulnerable and hard to reach groups, who may find it difficult to apply online without assistance, including people living in remote and rural areas”, he added.
The Scottish Government will be advertising this expanded help service as part of its ‘Stay in Scotland toolkit’, which includes factsheets and guides for both EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and Scottish employers.
MacPherson said: “So many questions about the UK government’s Brexit process remain unanswered, and in this uncertain situation it is crucial that people understand their rights.
“That is why the Scottish Government has put together the 'Stay in Scotland' package to provide extra support for EU citizens in Scotland, so that they continue to feel welcome and highly valued here.”
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said: “With a footprint in every community in Scotland and 80 years of experience in delivering advice for people who need it, the Citizens Advice network is uniquely positioned to deliver this project.
“The Brexit process is causing uncertainty for many people, and especially for citizens who also face the added anxiety of a potentially complex application process to stay in the United Kingdom.
“That’s why we are here to help EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who need assistance when making an application for settled or pre-settled status to remain in the UK after Brexit.
“Through our work funded by the Scottish Government and the Home Office, we can help people who have difficulty accessing an android mobile phone, or difficulty getting online, finds it difficult to get the evidence needed to apply, are at greater risk due to personal circumstances or have specific immigration or residency issues.”
Citizens Advice are encouraging interested people to contact their local bureaux or phone 0800 916 9847 for help and support.