Reported by The Gazette – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
HUNDREDS of foreigners who have made Renfrewshire their home are “in limbo” over whether they can stay here, The Gazette can reveal.
Under rules imposed by the Home Office, all those from countries in the European Union (EU) who now live in Renfrewshire must apply for permanent residency if they want to remain here.
Latest figures for the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme show 4,000 people have applied for permanent residency in the local area but only 2,110 have been given settled status.
Around 1,850 others have been classed as ‘pre-settled’ – meaning they could be forced to leave the UK unless they reapply within five years – or face an uncertain future as they are still waiting to hear if their application has been successful.
Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur has said EU nationals “should have never been asked to apply for the right to remain in their own homes.”
“It’s time this Tory government stopped playing with people’s lives and implement automatic permanent residence for EU nationals and their family members already here,” added Mr Arthur, who is based in Johnstone.
“Westminster’s settled status scheme has been a disaster from the start and underlines exactly why Scotland needs the power to create a fairer immigration system.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for all EU citizens in Renfrewshire to be given an automatic right to stay, particularly given their contribution to the NHS and care sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
Christine Jardine, the party’s home affairs spokesperson, said: “NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm’s way each and every day to keep us safe.
“The government has a chance to show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said it is grateful for the contribution made by EU nationals to the NHS during the pandemic and, as a result, has granted a one-year visa extension for qualifying workers.
#Fife #LocalServices #EqNews #COVID-19 #EUCitizens #SettlementScheme