With Brexit looming large on the horizon, Fife charities and Fife Council have joined forces to help EU citizens apply for settled status.
Fife Migrants Forum, Citizens Advice and Rights Fife, Fife Centre for Equalities and the local authority will be working together to raise awareness about the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as well as assisting individuals with their application.
Since March 2019, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK and their family members can apply under the settlement scheme to obtain their new UK immigration status.
This will enable them to continue to live, work, study and access public services in the UK.
However, under the post-Brexit registration system, those who wish to remain in the UK after Brexit must apply for settled status before June 30 2021, or December 31 2020 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Help is therefore now at hand, with extra funding being made available for local organisations to support vulnerable applicants – who include disabled people, those with severe mental health conditions, victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse, those without a permanent address and those who are elderly or isolated.
Councillor Judy Hamilton, convener of Fife’s community and housing services committee, explained: “While we have no control over what happens with Brexit, we can make sure that EU citizens living in Fife who want to remain here are given the help and support they need.
“Working with our partners we will do our best to make sure people are aware of decisions and arrangements that may affect them, as well as advice and support resources.”
The Fife EU Settlement Partnership is due to be officially launched next month, but appointments are available at the Fife Migrants Forum’s office in The Kirkcaldy Centre, formerly The Postings, while a number of Fife Council customer service centres are offering an appointment-only service to provide support with EU settlement applications.
Nina Munday, manager of the Fife Centre for Equalities, added: “We are pleased to be working with our partners to ensure the most vulnerable EU Citizens are being supported to remain in Fife.
“As well as language barriers, many will have additional needs such as disability, gender identity or honour based violence.
“In order to ensure their settlement status application is successful and they continue to make a positive contribution in Fife, FCE will ensure their additional needs are met appropriately.”
For further information about the Fife EU Settlement Partnership, go to centreforequalities.org.uk/EUreferral