Anxious times for migrants in Fife after Brexit vote

UNCERTAINTY AHEAD: Passport control at Edinburgh airport may be subject to change in the coming years

UNCERTAINTY AHEAD: Passport control at Edinburgh airport may be subject to change in the coming years

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EU nationals living in Fife are anxious about their future in Scotland following the Brexit vote.

That’s according to Fife Migrants Forum, which says it is handling an increase in clients expressing fears about what the EU referendum will mean for them and their families.

The Kirkcaldy-based charity, which provides support in aiding integration of migrants, urges others with concerns to come forward if they require advice.

Joanna Zawadszka, forum manager said: “They come in and ask ‘what is going to happen to me?’ ‘Will I be allowed to stay here?’ ‘My kids are at a local school’.

“We have to calm them down and explain nothing is going to change in the next couple of years at least.”

According to the Polish Embassy, the number of Britons enquiring about Polish passports has rocketed by 10,000 per cent since the EU referendum.

There has also been a rise of racial incidents against EU nationals living in parts of Britain outwith Scotland.

Ms Zawadszka commented: “Scotland seems different to the rest of the United Kingdom. People feel a bit safer here.”

New Prime Minister Theresa May said she would honour the referendum result saying “Brexit means Brexit”.

However, it is still unclear when Article 50, which kickstarts negotiations to leave the EU, will be invoked or what arrangements will be made for existing EU nationals in Britain and Brits living on the continent.

Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, is pursuing ways to remain in the EU and retain access to the Single Market – membership of which requires free movement of EU nationals.

Maciej Dokurno, Fife Migrants Forum chairman said he was “grateful and proud” Scottish politicians had spoken out to assure EU residents they were welcome in Scotland.

The forum has also signed an open letter to the Scottish Parliament, thanking the First Minister and all party leaders for their “strong messages of support”.

Claire Baker MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said: “It is crucial that we all work together at this uncertain time.”

David Torrance MSP for Kirkcaldy said:“The Scottish Government will continue to press for reassurances on this subject, and is determined to make sure Scotland remains a welcoming and inclusive society for those who have chosen to make their home here.”

To contact Fife Migrants Forum, telephone 01592 642927 or email: info@fifemigrantsforum.org.uk

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