The Scottish Government is concerned over the announcement by the UK Government that EU citizens who currently live and work here will have to pay an administration fee if they wish to continue living in Scotland after the UK leaves the EU on March 29th 2019.
Scotland has a small and aging population and requires migration to encourage economic growth. Does My Country Look Big In This?
EU citizens and their children who live and work in Scotland will have to apply to a UK Settlement Scheme and are required to pay £65 per adult and £32.50 for every child under 16. Settled status will only be granted to those who have lived here for 5+ years and for anyone else pre-settlement status may be granted.
The deadline for applications is 30th of June 2021.
Fiona Hyslop, External Affairs Secretary in the Scottish Government has written to the current Home Secretary in the UK Government, Sajid Javid.
In her letter Fiona Hyslop states:
“Our overriding concern has always been that EU citizens who came to Scotland to live, work, study and contribute to their communities should not be overly burdened when applying for a status they already have. I am clear that EU citizens should not have to pay a charge to retain the right to live and work in this country, especially children and young people.
“Our economic modelling shows that on average every additional EU citizen working in Scotland contributes over £34,400 in GDP and £10,400 in government revenue. The continued availability of workers from other EU countries is vital to employers right across the Scottish economy and across all sectors, including those as diverse as agriculture and fisheries, tourism and culture, healthcare and education.
“EU citizens choosing to make Scotland their home also support rural communities and jobs, bringing essential labour to rural industries and supporting public services including healthcare and schools. Any additional barriers to encouraging people to live, work and study in Scotland, or indeed to encouraging those already here to stay, would be damaging to Scotland’s future economic growth.”
For further information read: Implications for Health and Social Care in Scotland with Brexit
Fiona Hyslop goes on to stress the lack of detail about the UK Government’s Settlement Scheme.
” it is important that EU citizens who apply for settled status fully understand their different rights of appeal depending on when they apply. We understand that they will have a right to request an administrative review if they apply before March 2019. However those who apply after March 2019 will be entitled to a statutory right of appeal and it is vital that EU citizens are clear about their options before they apply.
“It is also important that EU citizens and their families understand the consequences of not applying for settled status and therefore not being protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.”
“It is regrettable that there was no meaningful Ministerial engagement in advance of the publication of the draft rules and the Statement of Intent, something I specifically requested in my joint letter to you with Mark Drakeford last month.
“The Scottish Government wants to engage with you to ensure that we get the best possible outcome for EU citizens and we think the best way to achieve this is by working closely together.”
Farmers of soft fruits in Scotland and in other parts of the UK have already been hit by a fall in the number of seasonal workers from rEU nations. This is due not just to the uncertainty of Brexit but also to the fall in the £ compared to the Euro which has made it less attractive for migrant workers to come here.
Some farms in the south of England have seen a decline of 20% in their rEU workforce and this has led to fruits being left to rot.
The recently published UK Government White Paper,Wish List White Paper on Brexit ,stated that the free movement of people will end when the UK leaves the EU.
In their response to the White Paper NFU Scotland said:
““While the government has committed to ending free movement of people, there must be recognition of the importance of both seasonal and permanent workers from outside of the UK that help farms to continue producing food for the nation.
“The food and farming industry continue to urge government to proceed with an immigration policy that is based on fact and business need, reflecting the importance of these workers to our food and farming sector.”
In 2016, the First Minister of Scotland after the result of the EU Referendum was made known declared that EU citizens remained welcome in Scotland.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame