Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone has slammed the Conservative Government for their “hapless treatment” of EU citizens after the Home Office released guidance today on the new EU Settlement Scheme.
The Home Office has confirmed that for the duration of the trial period, until 30 March, EU citizens applying to stay in the UK must either use an Android phone or travel to one of 13 'document scanning' centres instead.
In Scotland, there is only one 'document scanning' centre in Edinburgh. According to analysis by the Liberal Democrats, EU citizens travelling from Wick would face costs of £100 on the train for a 16 hour round trip. The drive would be a 500 mile round trip costing around £132 in fuel.
Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone said:
“Too many of my constituents are deeply anxious about their right to stay. Many of them fill vital roles in the health service, food processing and the tourism sector. They want to register as soon as possible, but Theresa May’s hapless treatment of EU citizens is putting up barriers.
“Following significant pressure, the Prime Minister said last week that there will be no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. How long did that commitment last?
“For anyone who doesn’t have an android phone, this botched scheme means they will have to travel. For people in the far north of Scotland that means facing a 500 mile round trip and forking out hundreds of pounds. This postcode lottery is simply unacceptable.
“It is Conservative Ministers who have made a mess of Brexit. They should either pay the cost for EU citizens or change the application system and ensure EU citizens are made to feel welcome in the UK. Ultimately, the best way to avoid all of this mess is by giving the people the option to remain in the EU with a final say on Brexit.”