Help at hand in Howgate for Falkirk's EU citizens as deadline looms
The Citizens Rights Project will be holding a special advice session in Falkirk this weekend to help EU citzens who may be at risk of becoming illegal immigrants if they do not apply for the EU Settlement Scheme in time.
EU citizens and their family members have until June 30 to apply for their pre-settled and settled status to continue residing legally in the UK.
Most of the people left to apply have very complex cases, which require a higher level of immigration support and a great deal of time and work before the application can be submitted.
Now the deadline is just around the corner, there are increasing concerns about some people not being able to apply on time.
In collaboration with Central Regional Equality Council, the Citizens Rights Project has organised a support clinic which will take place tomorrow – Saturday, May 29 – between 11am and 6pm at the Howgate Shopping Centre.
The support available is free and multilingual.
Citizens Rights Project coordinator Noelia Martinez said: “Reaching out to hundreds of thousands EU citizens in less than three years, with limited resources, no official figures of the people who are eligible to apply and, in the middle of a pandemic has been a very challenging task.
"Since March 2020, we have been unable to travel around Scotland. We are glad we can resume our face-to-face support just before the deadline, but we are concerned this won’t be enough.
"This is a key activity to reach the most vulnerable communities and remote locations. Although we have made a great online effort and try to keep continuous communication with local authorities and third sector organisations, they have been swamped with work and information related to COVID-19 and the EU Settlement Scheme has inevitably not been their top priority.
"Everything indicates there will be people left behind who won't apply on time.”
A total of 4700 EU Settlement Scheme applications were submitted from the Falkirk Council area up to March 31 this year, according to the latest quarterly statistics from the Home Office.
However, according to the Citizens Rights Project there are some worrying trends in the Falkirk area, including an increase in the number of applications with refused, withdrawn or void and invalid outcomes.