When the UK was tasked with voting to leave or remain in the European Union, the majority voted to leave. However, there was a clear divide between the north and the south of the UK. A majority 62% of voters in Scotland chose to remain in the EU and a large reason behind the decision was immigration.
So, how will Brexit affect Scotland’s immigration laws and business? Below, we’ll look at the changes set to come.
Immigration is crucial to Scotland’s workforce
One of the main reasons the majority of Scots chose to remain in the EU, was down to immigration. Scotland relies heavily on immigrants in its workforce due to a growing ageing population. So, there were fears over what would happen if they were to leave.
It is thought that in just 20 years’ time, only a third of Scots will be of working age. So, with Brexit taking place it’s a huge concern over how it will affect the countries immigration. While steps are being taken to reduce the impact it will have, immigration is still likely to play a key role in Scotland’s workforce.
How will existing immigrants be impacted?
EU citizens who are currently living in Scotland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they want to continue living and working in the country after Brexit. The deadline for this is 30th June 2021. This applies to EU citizens living in the UK by December 2020.
Initially applications came at a cost, but the fees have since been scrapped making the scheme free to apply for. The Scottish government has actually offered a package of support to help its existing immigrants remain in the country after Brexit.
What about immigrants who want to come after Brexit?
So, existing EU citizens shouldn’t be impacted too much provided they apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline. But what about immigrants who want to live in Scotland after Brexit?
EU citizens who want to move to Scotland after December 2020, will need to apply for the Euro Temporary Leave to Remain. This will enable them to stay in the country for up to 36 months. If they want to stay longer, they’ll need to reapply for Euro Temporary Leave to Remain.
What could happen in the result of a no deal?
The government has actually released a policy paper which highlights what would happen in the event of a no deal. However, there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding what would actually happen. For this reason, immigrants are advised to seek the advice of immigration lawyers UK to ensure they’re protected whatever happens.
Overall, it is concerning how Brexit will impact Scotland’s immigration policies. However, steps are being taken to ensure existing immigrants aren’t negatively impacted.