South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has been continually supporting EU citizens from across Dumfries and Galloway to apply for settled and pre-settled status.

She recently held an EU citizens surgery at the Ernespie Hotel in Castle Douglas with Mandy Grier from Citizens Advice Scotland.

At the meeting, it was revealed that currently around 20% of EU citizens across the region have applied for settled and pre-settled status thus far. This is a requirement put in place by the UK Government, and opposed by both Ms Harper and the Scottish Government.

People who choose to come to Dumfries & Galloway to live, work and raise their children are welcome. However, because powers over immigration currently sit with the UK Parliament, the Scottish Government is unable to do anything other than to offer support to those who are having to apply.

There are currently around 1500 people living in Dumfries & Galloway who are from European countries and may be eligible for ‘Leave to Remain’ under the scheme.

Many EU citizens work in a range of industries across Dumfries & Galloway, such as agriculture, hospitality, health care and social care and so it’s important that they apply to the scheme before the 6 of July 2021 to ensure their rights are protected.

Ms Harper said;

“EU citizens make an invaluable contribution to Dumfries and Galloway. Many work in our NHS, care sector, on our farms and in our local businesses as well as in tourism and hospitality. They are all valued and we want them to stay.

“My EU citizens advice surgery was well attended and I thank everyone – Citizens Advice, NHS leadership, employers and EU citizens – who came along. The event provided vital information on how to make an application for settled status and on how to access support which either Citizens Advice Scotland or my office is able to assist with.

“It is hugely important that those eligible, make the application for settled and pre-settled status. This guarantees the rights of EU citizens currently living and working here to be protected in the future. While I oppose this policy, because power over migration currently sits with the UK Government, I want to help and support those across the region to make the application.

“I will be holding further advice surgeries across the region, with the next being in Stranraer. I would encourage anyone looking for any further information or advice and support to contact me or CAB at any time.”

More information on Citizens Advice contact 0300 303 4321 ext: 6142 or email EUCitizens@dgafcas.org