Message to EU national teachers
I want to thank EU national teachers for their significant contribution in combating Covid-19. The emergence of the virus is one of the biggest challenges that the world has faced for generations.
The decision to close schools was one of the most difficult decisions we needed to make during this crisis. I do not underestimate your extraordinary effort to support education recovery and to welcome children back into schools in such challenging circumstances.
The response to the pandemic by communities across Scotland has been inspiring. In particular it has starkly demonstrated our reliance on key workers, from the carers we’ve applauded, to the delivery drivers bringing food and medicine to those in need, to the people providing childcare. Many of these people came to live in Scotland from the EU and they now face not only Covid-19 but also with the looming consequences of Brexit and what that will mean for their futures in Scotland.
Hundreds of EU nationals work as teachers in schools all across Scotland. The Scottish Government deeply values the contribution of every EU citizen in Scotland and we want to encourage and support EU national teachers to stay. To my deep regret the UK left the EU in January. Unfortunately, instead of granting automatic status to reside in the UK, the UK Government is forcing EU citizens to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to obtain the new immigration status they need to continue living here after next year. The Scheme will close on 30 June 2021.
If you are an EU citizen, or if you have colleagues or family members who are from an EU country, the Scottish Government’s Stay in Scotland resources can help.
To help guide you through the steps you need to take to stay, you can access the package of support at www.mygov.scot/stayinscotland. As part of our offer, Citizens Advice Scotland is running a national helpline where people with questions about the EU Settlement Scheme can get free, confidential and impartial advice and support from qualified advisors. Anyone facing difficulties can get help at www.cas.org.uk or by calling the free helpline on 0800 916 9847.
We also want to make sure that EU citizens are informed about their rights and can access vital services during these challenging times. We have published a number of factsheets explaining the rights of EU citizens in Scotland. This guidance, developed with JustRight Scotland, sets out the rights of EU citizens to vote and work, and to access healthcare, education, housing and benefits in Scotland. These factsheets are for anyone who wants to better understand the rights of EU citizens and can be found in six languages at www.justcitizens.scot/EU
It is important that Scotland remains a welcoming place for those who chose Scotland as their home. EU citizens and their families make outstanding contributions to our country, culture and economy. They greatly enrich our communities as friends, family and neighbours.
Our message to EU citizens is simple: this is your home; you will always be welcome here; and we will do everything we can to help you to stay.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister.