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EU Settlement Scheme – Four weeks to go

With the deadline for applications to the EU Settlement scheme only four weeks away (30 June 2021) there may be many people who have still to make an application writes Hamish Fraser of Citizens Advice Scotland.

When the UK decided to leave the EU on 23 June 2016, we all realised that the UK immigration laws would change.  As time passed, and Brexit negotiations progressed, it became clear that what we know as Freedom of Movement would cease once the UK left the EU.   

Little did we realise how much we had taken for granted how easy it was for us to move between countries in the EU if we wanted to live, work or study.  

In March 2019, the Home Office launched the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), and this allowed EU, EEA and Swiss citizens*, resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to get immigration status and remain in the UK beyond 30 June 2021.

At the start of the EUSS, it was estimated that there were approximately 3 million EU citizens living in the UK with an estimated 230,000 living in Scotland.  This was a significant underestimate and as of 30 April 2021 nearly 5.5 million applications had been made to the EUSS and 270,000 of these were from Scotland.

Since March 2019, Citizens Advice Scotland has received funding from the Scottish Government and Home Office to provide advice and support to the most vulnerable members of our community with their applications to the EUSS and, by April 2021, we have provided support and assistance to over 12,500 people.

 As part of the service we deliver, we have a team of specialist advisers throughout Scotland and they provide advice in some of our 59 bureaux as well as a telephone helpline, 0800 916 9847.  We often come across complex cases and have a solicitor-led service for these.  All the advice and support are free, confidential and impartial.

With the deadline of 30 June 2021 less than a month away, we are conscious that there may be many people who have still to make an application. We are asking for the farming and food industries assistance to identify employees, friends and their families who have still to make an application and tell them to either submit an application or contact our service for support.

Our main areas of concern are in relation to:

  • Older people that have been resident in the UK that are not aware that they also need to make an application to the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Children of EU citizens, as many that are born in the UK may not have British nationality and need to apply.
  • Family members, including those of Irish citizens, who are non-EU citizens need to apply even if they hold a Biometric Residence Card.

Time is running out to make an application and failure to make an application before the deadline could result in future difficulties in accessing benefits, housing and healthcare.

Please think about people you know who are EU citizens and ask them if they and their family have applied to stay in the UK.

*EU citizens includes citizens of the EU member states, as well as citizens of EEA states (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), and citizens of Switzerland.

More information

  • If your staff need more tailored advice, the Citizens Rights Project provides free and regulated immigration advice in various European languages across Scotland. The Citizens Advice Project can be contacted at: info@citizensrightsproject.org / 07518926137. For more information visit: www.citizensrightsproject.org
  • The Citizens Advice Scotland’s EU Citizens Support National helpline can be contacted Mon-Fri 9am-5pm on 0800 916 9847, ‘out of hours’ voicemail available, leave your name and contact number for a return call.
  • For information about EU Settlement Scheme see: https://www.gov.uk/eusettledstatus


Information for employers is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-introduction-for-employers/eu-settlement-scheme-introduction-for-employers  

NFU Scotland hosted a webinar on immigration policy for permanent workers on Tuesday 25 May 2021.  President Martin Kennedy was joined by Jacqueline Moore, Director of Immigration Law at Shepherd and Wedderburn, John Vassiliou, Specialist UK immigration and Nationality Lawyer at Shepherd and Wedderburn, and Lucile Giriat, EU Citizens Support Scheme Adviser at Citizens Advice Scotland. https://vimeo.com/555106003  to watch

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