Did you know that nearly 250,000 EU citizens currently call Scotland home? Here are some of the things we’re doing to ensure our wonderful relationship continues for years to come.
As the relationship between Scotland and the rest of Europe changes, we know that there’s still a lot of confusion around what happens next. However, one thing that there isn’t any confusion over is the fact that Scotland values the contributions EU citizens make to our country every day. We’re known throughout the world for providing a warm and open welcome to anyone who comes here, and we want to ensure our European neighbours continue to experience that long into the future.
After all – everyone speaks of the genuine warmth and friendliness of the Scottish people. Sure, we may have a strong national identity, but we don’t let this get in the way of embracing new cultures and new people. In fact, new cultures and new people are some of the many reasons that Scotland thrives today. We’re a hotbed of multiculturalism, with more than 170 different languages being spoken throughout the country, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
When it comes to EU citizens living in Scotland, our position as a perfect destination to live in has been cemented once again with the latest release of the Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) Liveability rankings. Each year ECA produce a survey and specialise in providing data on everything from cost of living and salary to labour law and quality of life, ranking nearly 500 locations worldwide.
For the 3rd year in a row, Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh was voted one of the top 20 most liveable cities in the entire world for Europeans. As if that wasn’t enough, Edinburgh was the only city in the UK to make the top 20, with locations such as London and the rest of the UK generally featuring quite low down the list. When you consider that people living in these areas are a major part of the analysis and research process, it’s obvious that Scotland is a clear favourite amongst Europeans.
the same...but different...
As our relationship with Europe starts to change, Scotland’s commitment to looking out for our EU citizens extends into several different initiatives and projects - all designed to reassure and protect their status here. From packages of support for the incredible people working on the front lines of our health and social care systems, right through to financial commitments dedicated to ensuring all EU citizens get the facts and information they need.
From the moment the UK voted to leave the European Union, Scotland has unequivocally voiced its dedication to protecting the rights of our EU citizens. We fought to ensure that no one would have to pay to secure settled status – because we believe that you shouldn’t have to pay for rights that should come automatically. We also launched a campaign that provides practical advice and guidance on how to go through the application process.
This was done to ensure that everyone who wanted to stay in Scotland was able to do so as smoothly as possible. But, the campaign was about more than providing help for an application form – it was about ensuring that EU citizens who lived in Scotland – and the rest of the UK – were fully aware of their rights – ensuring no one is denied access to services they are entitled to.
Spreading the word
Alongside this resource, Scotland also dedicated funding to its national Citizens Advice service, allowing them to deliver a comprehensive set of information and guidance to all EU nationals and their families. This service is particularly helpful to those who want to apply for settled status, but perhaps need a little bit extra help to do so.
We've also been working with organisations like The 3 Million – the largest campaign organisation for EU citizens in the UK – and the Citizens’ Rights Project to make sure EU nationals right around Scotland get the information they need. A series of events were held across Scotland to raise awareness about everything you need to do to stay in Scotland.
EU citizens – and those from around the rest of the world – are vitally important to Scotland’s future. We want to continue to be the vibrant, diverse society that faces outwards and welcomes new people to contribute to our society. For us, that means welcoming free movement of people to and from Scotland – because we know that by working together, we can do great things.
Whether you’ve lived here for many years, just a few months, or are still considering moving to Scotland – we want you to know that you are – and will continue to be – welcome.