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Orkney MSP demands better for EU citizens

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur

Orkney MSP has used a parliamentary debate at Holyrood to highlight the problems being faced by non-UK EU citizens living in Orkney — and the rest of the UK — as a result of Brexit.

Using the examples of two of his constituents — one a teacher the other a GP — who the MSP said got in contact with him recently, Mr McArthur described their experience, including the difficulties they faced when applying for settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

Following the debate, which took place yesterday, Mr McArthur said: “Orkney is home to people from across the world, including many from other EU countries. These are people who have built their lives here and, in turn, enriched and enhanced ours in so many different ways.

“Brexit has cast doubt over where their futures lie, thanks in large part to the willingness of successive UK Tory administrations to use non-UK EU citizens as pawns in a wider political game of brinkmanship.

“Even the process for applying for so-called ‘settled status’ has been designed to make people feel unwelcome. It interrogates the decision of individuals and families to come to this country in the first place, while hanging a threat of deportation over their heads. This is so self-defeating.

“I highlighted the experiences of a local teacher and a GP in Orkney who have been caught in the mess created by Brexit. These two individuals contribute significantly to our community and do so in sectors where we know there are already staff shortages, particularly in rural and island areas. It is shameful that their lives have been put on hold and the futures shrouded in uncertainty.

“It is just one more reason why stopping Brexit is so important. Meantime, I will continue to support those who need any help or advice with the settlement process and I would urge anyone to get in touch if they are unsure or worried.”

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