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EU Citizens living in Scotland, who have not yet applied to join the EU Settlement Scheme, are being urged to apply now to avoid missing the deadline of June 30.
The latest figures show that as of April 30, 268,500 applications have been made by people living in Scotland. The number still to apply can’t be confirmed as there is no official data on the number of EU citizens living in Scotland, but it could be a large number.
The Scottish Government is now running a new campaign, up until Wednesday June 30, calling on EU citizens who were living in the UK at December 31, 2020, to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme so they can carry on living, working and studying in Scotland. Irish citizens and people with indefinite leave to remain do not have to apply. However, even if you already have a permanent residence document or have lived in the UK for a long time, you will still need to apply.
The campaign will run on radio, digital, social, and press.
Jenny Gilruth, minister for Culture, Europe & International Development, said: ‘Our message to everyone from the EU who lives and works here remains this: Scotland is your home, you are our family, and we want you to stay here with us.
‘Scotland is a better place because you are living here. Please apply. And please stay with us.
‘The UK Government’s EU Settled Status Scheme means that I must, sadly, reiterate that it remains critical that all EU citizens must complete an application by June 30 2021.’
Those who do not apply to the scheme may not be able to continue living or working in Scotland.
For more information on the support available, visit www.mygov.scot/stayinscotland
To download the Stay in Scotland toolkit or graphics, visit www.gov.scot/stayinscotlandtoolkit
Norwegian Benedikte Ranum, who now lives in Doune, outside Stirling, has gone through the process. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you find the process?
Initially, I had some misgivings about applying for settled status. I had lived in the UK most of my adult life, and had studied, worked and raised a family here. It felt odd having to prove that I had the right to remain in the country I’d considered my home for all these years.
But as it turned out, the process couldn’t have been easier. The online application guides you through a series of simple steps, and the instructions are very clear. If you have a biometric passport, you can even scan it rather than having to post it to the Home Office. I also got the reply much sooner than I had expected, saying I had been granted settled status.
Around the time I applied, there was also a letter from the Scottish Government, reassuring me and other people in my position that we are wanted in this country. I’m pleased about the efforts that are being made to create a friendly and welcoming environment for those of us who are Scots by choice rather than by birth.
What would you say to others who have yet to apply?
I would say just go onto the website and get it done. The chances are it will be a lot more straightforward than you think. And if you do get stuck, there’s help freely available – just contact Citizens Advice.
Even if you don’t have access to the internet or have problems with the English language, there’s help available. And the sooner you start the application process, the more time there is to iron out any issues before the June 30 deadline.