The co-leader of Fife Council has said there is a “concerningly low level” of EU migrants in Fife who are applying to stay in Scotland after Brexit.
At the full Fife Council meeting on Thursday, Labour co-leader of the council David Ross, said that less than one third of migrants in the Kingdom had applied to stay.
This came after Councillor Jane Ann Liston asked what percentage of migrants had so far applied to stay in the UK after Brexit.
Cllr Ross said: “It is estimated that around about one quarter of EU citizens living in Scotland have so far applied to remain in the UK.
“Across the whole of the UK it is estimated at being around one third have been granted settled or pre-settled status.
“In Fife, around 30 per cent have applied, which is a concerningly low level and we recognise we do need to do a lot more.
“The applications are online but for those who don’t have access to a computer or lack the skills and confidence to use one, assistance is available through the assisted digital locations in seven of the council customer service centres and Fife Migrant’s Forum.
“Regardless of the individual views we may have on the settlement scheme, or Brexit as a whole, it is important that we do as much as we can to support and advise EU citizens living in Fife, and give out that strong message that Fife values that contribution that they make in the community and will provide as much support and advice to them as we possibly can.”
Cllr Liston responded: “I have heard there is a lot of suspicion and a lack of trust from EU citizens. What is Fife doing to mitigate this? There is a lot of scared people keeping their heads down as much as possible.”
Cllr Ross said: “We’ve all heard the stories and the results of the so called hostile environment the UK government has put in place. I think one of the issues is I can understand why there is the suspicion there is.
“I hope that by putting out the very positive messages from this council, we can counter some of that.”