Post-Brexit Immigration system
COSLA and Scottish local authorities have consistently acknowledged and valued the social, cultural and economic benefits migrants bring to Scotland. COSLA continues to make the case that the very real possibility of a significant reduction in migration to Scotland from EEA countries will adversely impact on Scotland’s local authorities. The UK’s future skills-based immigration White Paper was published in December 2018. We believe that Scotland should have a flexible immigration system that considers local area needs.
In particular, we are concerned about:
- Demographics and the potential impact on local authorities’ ability to attract a young workforce and counteract our growing ageing population.
- The impact on the labour market and local economies.
- The effects of Brexit on integration and the rights and entitlements of EU/EEA citizens living in Scotland.
In February 2019, COSLA submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee setting out our concerns regarding the Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill and the UK’s future skills-based immigration system White Paper.
In December 2017 we responded to the Migration Advisory Committee's call for evidence on EEA workers in the UK labour market in the light of Brexit. You can download our response by clicking on the following link: COSLA MAC Response on EEA Workers (PDF).
COSLA and Scottish local authorities are committed to lessening the sense of uncertainty amongst EU citizens living in Scotland. COSLA is working with the UK Government and Scottish Government to ensure that EU/EEA citizens living in the UK are well informed and can access settled status. We have been working with partners to ensure vulnerable users with complex needs and access issues are identified and can be supported through the settlement process.
Key information regarding the EU Settlement scheme (EUSS):
- The EUSS is open. EU citizens can be signposted to GOV.UK where they will find a step by step guide to applying for EU settlement status. The guide has been translated into 26 European languages.
- The Scottish Government 'Stay in Scotland' toolkit provides a package of support to help EU citizens stay in Scotland.
- The UK Government community leadership toolkit equips local authorities and community groups with information and materials to support EU citizens to apply to the EUSS.
- Irish citizens do not need to apply to the EUSS.
- It is free to apply to the EUSS. If someone has paid a fee during the pilot phase, they can get a refund.
- Scottish Government is funding Citizens Advice Scotland to provide an advice service for EU citizens.
- Local authorities are providing an assisted digital service in libraries and community centres to support access to the EUSS - Assisted Digital Locations in Scotland (please note more centres will be opening in Scotland).
- The We Are Digital webpage provides information to those that are considering delivering assisted digital services to support EU citizens applying for settled status.
- The Home Office will fund third sector organisations to support vulnerable citizens apply to the EUSS. We will provide details of successful services in Scotland in due course.
In the event of a No Deal
On 6th December 2018, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union set out provisions for EU citizens and their family members in the UK in the event of a no deal outcome. You can read the policy document here and key information is below:
- In the event of a no deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be implemented, enabling EU citizens and their family members living in the UK to secure their status and continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis after we exit the EU as they do now.
- The Home Office will continue to look to grant status rather than refuse and, as per the UK commitment to be more generous in certain respects than the draft Withdrawal Agreement, a person will not be refused status under the EU Settlement Scheme because, for example, they are not economically active or they do not hold comprehensive sickness insurance. A person will continue to be eligible for settled status under the scheme where they have been continuously resident in the UK for five years, and for pre-settled status (five years' leave to remain) if they do not yet qualify for settled status.
- A proportionate approach will continue to be taken for those who miss the deadline for a good reason and allow them a reasonable further period in which to apply.
- There would be some changes to the EU Settlement Scheme if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which is set out in the policy document. In particular, as there will be no agreed implementation period, the application deadline will be brought forward to 31 December 2020.
- There will be different arrangements for EU citizens arriving in the UK in the event of a no deal, and details of these will be set out in due course.
- Guidance on staying in the UK for longer than 3 months if there’s no Brexit deal.
- Check a passport for travel to Europe - Before you travel, use this tool to check you have enough time left on your UK passport.
- Common Travel Area Guidance - Guidance to UK and Irish Citizens on their rights under the Common Travel Area arrangements.
- Policy paper on the rights of UK nationals in the EU - This paper outlines the UK Government's action to protect the rights of UK nationals living in the EU.
- EU Exit information for UK nationals if there’s no deal - information for UK nationals in the absence of a withdrawal agreement.
- Residence rights of UK nationals in the EU Member States in a no deal scenario.
For further information on COSLA’s work in this area see our POLITICAL PAPERS.
For further information on the UK Government’s EUSS: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Last updated: 07/05/19