Opinions

Working as a network to support vulnerable EU citizens in Scotland after Brexit

Written by: Noelia Martínez, Project Coordinator, Citizens Rights Project

Published: 08/11/2021

Noelia Martínez from the Citizens Rights Project reflects on the role that ALLIANCE members can play to support EU citizens in Scotland.

Although the deadline for EU citizens (and their family members) to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to be able to stay in Scotland and safeguard their rights has passed, the issues with the Scheme are far from over. In fact, cases are increasingly more complex and thousands of people living in Scotland are at risk of becoming undocumented immigrants and losing access to public services. This situation is specially concerning for the most vulnerable, including disabled people and people with long term conditions.

The lack of accurate data since the scheme was released, the tight timescale to reach out to millions affected by this new migration status, and frequent and unexpected ad hoc changes introduced by the Home Office, has led to knowledge gaps among employers, border police, local government workers and others. The result is that some people are wrongly detained at the border, losing job opportunities, having problems accessing the health service and claiming benefits, just to name a few.

Fortunately, we are pleased to announce  that the Scottish Government has extended the funding of the Citizens Rights Project (this link will take you away from our website) to work with EU citizens until March 2022. We have also had confirmation that the Home Office will be continuing to provide grant support to our partners Feniks (this link will take you away from our website), of which we receive part for outreach work with EU citizens in Scotland.

On top of this, we have partnered up with our sister organisation Settled, to open a Level 2 support service in Scotland, thanks to funding from the Justice Together Initiative. We can therefore, continue providing our EUSS information, advice, and support services in Scotland. To make sure these services are used by, and reach those who most need it, we need everyone’s support.

We are calling all ALLIANCE members – you can help us identify citizens who are still yet to apply to the EU Settlement (this link will take you away from our website), are awaiting on a decision, who want to bring their family members or who struggle to access, update or provide proof their status.

This is how you can help us:

  • Use our referral service – Do the people you support or provide services to have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme or their rights that you cannot answer? You can tell them to contact us directly using our web form (this link will take you away from our website) -translated into 10 EU languages- or you can contact us directly on info@citizensrightsproject.org
  • Train your staff – If you want your service/company to be able to answer some of those queries, we can organise an online briefing session with information about the latest updates and the must-knows of the EUSS. Get in touch with us if you are interested and would like to find out more about our services.
  • Organise an event – We are looking forward to being back on the road and meet people face-to-face -with all the precautions in place, of course- We love to go local and are already planning some advice clinics around Scotland, so EU citizens can get help in person. Have you identified any specific needs within your community? Let us know! we can partner up to make sure these are met.
  • Order free resources – We have a bunch of multilingual online and printed materials in the form of infographics, blog posts, videos, posters, leaflets…you name it! If you would like to find out more about what we have and get some for free.
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