Growing numbers of people sought immigration advice from Scotland's Citizens Advice network towards the end of the year, new data shows.
In November the network provided 1,237 pieces of advice in relation to pre- and settled status, an increase in terms of overall advice provided of 16 per cent since October.
The figures include immigration advice delivered in bureaux and by the EU Citizens Support Service Helpline.
The EU Citizens Support Service has helped 10,145 people since it launched in April 2019, either by helping people with their application or giving people advice on the EU Settlement Scheme.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) says that it expects to see increasing demand for immigration advice in 2021, ahead of the deadline for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to apply for settled status in the UK, which is on 30 June 2021.
Commenting, CAS Strong Communities spokesperson Gillian Fyfe said:
“The growing demand for immigration advice reflects the level of uncertainty around the process of the future relationship between the UK and the EU towards the end of the year.
“In some senses however, it’s a real positive that people are seeking advice. EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens should understand that they have to apply for settled status, and regardless of the outcome of the EU/UK trade talks the deadline to apply is the 30 June 2021.
“With so much uncertainty around the issue of Brexit this year and how things may look once the transition period ends in January it’s understandable for people to feel unsure about their rights. We can give people that peace of mind.
“Our message to people who haven’t applied is clear – there is still time and the Citizens Advice network is here to help. Don’t leave it to the last minute and try and get your application in as soon as possible in the New Year.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
In November 1,237 pieces of advice were provided by the Citizens Advice network in relation to pre- and settled status, an increase in terms of overall advice provided of 16 per cent.
The EU Citizens Support service has helped 10,145 people since it launched in the spring of 2019. The service is supported by funding from the Scottish Government and the Home Office.
The helpline reopens on 5 January 2020. Over the festive period callers can leave voicemails and receive a call back, with advisers picking up urgent cases.