Stur­geon blasts West­min­ster over set­tled sta­tus fees

The Herald - - POLITICS - KATRINE BUSSEY

THE UK Gov­ern­ment will not al­low Holy­rood min­is­ters to pay £65 set­tled sta­tus fees for Euro­pean cit­i­zens who are work­ing in Scot­land’s pub­lic ser­vices, Ni­cola Stur­geon has said.

The First Minister has al­ready promised her gov­ern­ment would pick up the cost for NHS staff and other pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers who have come to live in Scot­land from other parts of the Euro­pean Union.

But she told the Health and So­cial Care Scot­land con­fer­ence in

Glas­gow the “UK Gov­ern­ment will not al­low third-party pay­ments, thereby forc­ing EU cit­i­zens to pay it up­front”.

There are around 13,000 cit­i­zens from other EU nations cur­rently work­ing in health and so­cial care in Scot­land – with this group mak­ing up 3.5% of the sec­tor’s over­all work­force.

In so­cial care alone, 7.3% of all reg­is­tered nurses and 5.5% of all staff come from other Euro­pean nations.

Ms Stur­geon said the “hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment” the UK Gov­ern­ment has cre­ated for mi­grants has al­ready re­sulted in a drop of nurses from Europe ap­ply­ing to work in Scot­land. She chal­lenged politi­cians in West­min­ster to ditch the “un­ac­cept­able” set­tled sta­tus fee and in­stead “value the doc­tors, nurses and car­ers work­ing day-in, day-out to pro­vide care in our times of need”.

The First Minister said: “It is un­ac­cept­able that the UK Gov­ern­ment in­sists on charg­ing EU cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing chil­dren, a fee to ap­ply for a sta­tus they are al­ready en­ti­tled to.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to pay­ing the fee for EU cit­i­zens work­ing in our de­volved pub­lic ser­vices.

“How­ever, the UK Gov­ern­ment will not al­low third-party pay­ments, thereby forc­ing EU cit­i­zens to pay it up-front.”

Ms Stur­geon added: “EU cit­i­zens work­ing in our pub­lic ser­vices are cru­cial to their suc­cess­ful de­liv­ery.

“It is of great con­cern that the more bar­ri­ers the UK Gov­ern­ment places on en­abling peo­ple to stay in the UK, the more peo­ple could be forced to leave.

“We are al­ready see­ing a drop in ap­pli­ca­tions from nurses from across the EU – and that is hardly sur­pris­ing given the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment be­ing cre­ated by UK Gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

“The UK Gov­ern­ment has failed to de­liver a suit­able mi­gra­tion pol­icy for Scot­land.”

„ The UK was stop­ping fees be­ing paid said the First Minister.

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