Children of EU citizens 'should be exempt from post-Brexit fees'

17 May 2018, 07:17

EU Brexit

The children of EU citizens should be exempt from paying any post-Brexit registration costs, the Scottish Government has said.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop called on the UK Government to commit to not imposing registration fees for the 35,000 children of EU families under the age of 16 currently living in Scotland.

Ms Hyslop has already written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid urging him to recognise Scotland's "unique" migration needs.

Speaking before the World Congress on Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health in Edinburgh, Ms Hyslop said: "Scotland has always been an outward looking nation, embracing the world beyond our borders.

"That spirit continues today: Scots voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and they will continue to welcome people to live, work and study in our country.

"We believe the current UK Government's hostile immigration policy and unrealistic migration targets are hindering Scotland's economic growth and our wider wellbeing.

"We want the UK Government to commit to not impose any fee in relation to the settled status process. Failing that, we ask at least for an exemption for all children living in the UK - many who were born here, consider themselves Scots and may be legally entitled to British citizenship.

"Concerns about costs will be an issue for many families and the UK Government should act now."

She added: "As set out in our recently published paper, we believe Scotland should be granted devolved powers on migration, which would allow us to improve the rights of the migrants - and their families - living here, while benefiting our country's economy and demography.

"We urge the new Home Secretary to act to make the system more humane and recognise the benefits of migration in Scotland and across the UK."

A Home Office spokesman said: "After we leave the EU, we will have in place an immigration system which works in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

"The Government has commissioned advice from the Migration Advisory Committee to better understand the reliance on EU migrant workers in the UK and we are considering the needs of all parts of the UK and all sectors.

"Applications for the settlement scheme will cost no more than a British passport and we will be setting out further details before the summer."