Updated: Jan 22, 2019
UPDATE 22/01/2019: Yesterday [21st January] Prime Minister Theresa May announced the hugely controversial Settled Status fee for EU citizens will be scrapped, following a successful campaign by the SNP.
Applications to the Settlement Scheme are due to open on the 30th March 2019 with the deadline to apply set for 30th June 2021.
Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/staying-uk-eu-citizen
Rona Mackay MSP
Strathkelvin and Bearsden
21 January 2019
I write to you regarding the UK government’s EU Settled Status Scheme for European citizens and their families.
As you may already be aware, the Settled Status Scheme will require EU citizens who already live here to apply for their continued right to reside in the UK – charging an administration fee of £65 in the process. Applications for children will incur a charge of £32.50.
I firmly believe it is wrong for the UK government to oblige EU citizens – including our nurses, teachers and carers - who have built lives in Scotland and who contribute to our economy and communities to not only apply, but pay, for the right to remain.
This is also the overwhelming view of the Scottish Parliament. Last month I voted in support of a motion that outlined the significant contributions made by EU citizens living in Scotland and called on the UK government to scrap its fee for settled status applications. The full text of this motion is noted overleaf.
While Scotland does not yet have powers over immigration, the Scottish Government have committed to pay the ‘settled status’ fee for all EU citizens working in devolved public services. This pledge is designed to give practical help to individuals and offer assurances to our doctors, nurses, carers and other valued public servants who have made their lives in Scotland.
In addition, the Scottish Government have funded Scotland's Citizens Advice network to provide a new advice service for European citizens in Scotland affected by changes to immigration rules as a result of Brexit. This service is set to go live at the end of March 2019.
The Scottish Government currently do not hold the powers to extend this commitment to private and third sector workers – only the UK Government has the capacity to put an end to the fee.
I would like to make clear that EU citizens will always remain welcome in Strathkelvin and Bearsden, and across Scotland, and I will continue to do all I can to support them.
If you have any issues or concerns that you would like to discuss with me, please do not hesitate to get in touch via the contact details noted below.
Rona Mackay MSP
Motion S5M-15184: Ben Macpherson, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/12/2018
That the Parliament welcomes the significant economic, social and cultural contributions made by EU citizens to Scotland; acknowledges that they are a welcome and integral part of communities across the country; notes that EU citizens are important contributors to key sectors such as health and social care, education, construction, tourism and hospitality, culture, rural industries and financial services; recognises that EU citizens who have settled in Scotland have done so under freedom of movement; however, notes that the UK Government’s policy is for EU citizens, including children, to enter an application process to obtain settled status and pay a fee to retain their existing rights to live, work and study in Scotland; recognises the risk that this charge could create a barrier for families and for individuals on low incomes; notes the Scottish Government commitment to meet the settled status fee for EU citizens working in devolved public services and to provide an information and advice service to support them; however, believes that EU citizens should not have to pay to retain rights that they already hold, and therefore calls on the UK Government to scrap its fee for settled status applications.
Further information, and a transcript of the Parliamentary debate on the above motion, can be found online here: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11856&i=107248