Wales politics

Brexit: Welsh Government to help EU citizens apply to stay

EU citizens Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The deadline for EU citizens applying to the UK government's settlement scheme is 30 June 2021

A new package of support to help people from EU countries to continue to live and work in Wales after Brexit has been announced.

The Welsh Government is to fund immigration advice and support to help people apply for settled status.

About 80,000 people from the EU are thought to live, work or study in Wales.

EU citizens must apply to the UK's settlement scheme if they want to remain in the UK after Brexit.

Citizens from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein must also apply, but Irish citizens are automatically given leave to remain without applying.

The deadline for applying for the scheme is 30 June 2021, but if the UK leaves the EU without a deal - potentially at the end of October - the deadline will move to 31 December 2020.

There are two locations in Wales - Bridgend and Caerphilly - set up by the UK government where people can scan and register their identification documents as part of the application process for the settled status scheme.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Welsh Government Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said many EU citizens faced "an uncertain future"

The support, funded primarily through the Welsh Government's £50m EU Transition Fund, includes:

  • support with applications through the network of Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • an immigration advice service offering specialist support for complex cases
  • working with charities and partners to raise awareness of the need to apply for settled status

Welsh Government Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said: "Tailored advice and support which breaks down communication barriers and is targeted directly where it is needed will enable everyone to understand their rights and make informed decisions in the coming months."

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May announced her government was scrapping the £65 fee EU citizens were going to have to pay to make an application through the settled status scheme.

A report by the Commons Home Affairs Committee, published in May, said the UK government ran the risk of another Windrush scandal if "serious concerns" about the EU settlement scheme were not addressed.

The Home Office said it had "taken great care to learn from the experience of the Windrush generation", referring to the scandal that saw wrongful detentions and deportations of people living in the UK who arrived from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

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