Sharp drop in the number of EU citizens seeking to stay in Brexit Britain
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
The impact of Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit plans may well already be having an impact, following a sharp drop in the number of EU nationals applying to remain in the UK after Brexit.
The Home Office revealed that there were around 140,000 applications for the EU Settlement Scheme in November – compared to more than half a million submitted in the previous month.
The Tories’ hostile environment has already put off thousands of talented and much-needed people from the EU coming to or staying in the UK – putting at risk our NHS, food and agriculture sector, and harming Scotland's specific immigration needs. The sharp drop in the number of EU citizens applying to stay in the UK post-Brexit is yet another reminder of the damage that any form of Brexit will have on Scotland and the UK.
In contrast to the toxic Tory policies, the SNP Scottish Government is instead offering advice and support to EU citizens through funding and support for the application process.
With Boris Johnson pursuing Brexit at any cost – deal or No-Deal – there is a growing risk of EU nationals being put off from living in the UK. There is also the risk of the next Windrush-style scandal for EU nationals undertaking the process as a result of the flawed Settled Status scheme.
The SNP has consistently called on the UK government to implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and their families already in the UK – given that it is impossible for the scheme to achieve 100% registration. Even missing the target by 10% would see hundreds of thousands of EU nationals at risk of removal from the UK or left in limbo.
This entire process underlines exactly why Scotland needs the power to create a fairer immigration system, and it has only emphasised the need for Scotland to have say over its future – rather than being dictated to by a broken Westminster system that is acting against Scotland’s interests.