MSP addresses EU citizen's concerns
MORAY'S MSP hosted a public meeting near Findhorn to discuss the effect of Brexit on EU nationals living in the area.
Richard Lochhead offered guidance, support and reassurance to around 100 EU nationals at Universal Hall, The Park who have made their home in Moray but are concerned about their future due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
He explained: "There are over 1500 EU nationals living in Moray who are a valued part of our community and contribute so much to our local area."
"Over the last two years I have been approached by many EU nationals living in Moray who are seriously concerned about Brexit and their continued right to live, work and love in Scotland.
"At the start of the year I sent a survey to Moray's EU nationals and the overwhelming response was that people feel they simply haven’t had enough information from the UK Government.
"Many who got back in touch with me weren’t even aware of the settled status scheme and that they would need to apply to continue to live and work here.
Head of the EU Nationals Support Project at Citizens Advice Scotland, Hamish Fraser, gave a presentation on the advice and support available to EU nationals in Moray and across the country. The project is being funded by the Scottish Government.
Mr Fraser said: "We appreciated the very large turnout and the type of questions we were asked. The event demonstrated people's concerns. Hopefully the local bureau can deliver a service to ease anxiety and assist people with their concerns about the application process to remain in the UK."
This was followed by a Q&A allowing attendees to outline their concerns about the settlement scheme that has been set up by the UK Government.
Mr Lochhead said: "The anxiety and distress this new system is causing our neighbours and friends who are non-UK EU nationals was palpable. There’s huge confusion with the Home Office issuing contradictory advice on who needs to apply and how the process works.
"Citizens Advice and myself did our best to answer people’s questions but there is a complete lack of information and clarity being provided by the UK Government - which is an unacceptable way to treat people who are valued members of our communities."
Mr Lochhead promised the meeting he would pursue many of the issues raised.
He finished: "I will be writing to the Home Office to convey the stress and anxiety their policy is causing to people in Moray, as well as seeking answers to the many questions people have about the settlement scheme and their rights after the UK leaves the EU."