Following the first week of Brexit negotiation talks, UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels yesterday for a two-day summit, and speaking last night attempted to offer certainty for the 3.2 million EU citizens living the the UK (181,000 in Scotland).
The “settled status” proposal outlined by the Prime Minister, for EU nationals who have been in the UK for five years, would grant them the same rights as their British counterparts to healthcare, education, welfare benefits and pensions.
Those who have been resident in the UK for a shorter period than five years would have the opportunity to stay on until they reach the five-year threshold.
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said that this was “a first step, but not sufficient”.
Brexit Co-ordinator for the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt commented on May’s proposals saying, “May’s “generous offer” does not fully guarantee the rights of EU citizens living the UK”.
With reports such as those published earlier this week from Digital Technologies Skills Group and Skills Development Scotland estimating that Scotland has up to 12,800 tech job opportunities to fill annually, if the flow of skilled EU immigration is constrained by Brexit, or lacks certainty making the UK a less desirable place to call home, Scotland will struggle to fulfil its economic potential due to a Brexit it did not vote for.