In an online roundtable discussion, members of community groups and third & public sector organisations reflected on Brexit’s impact on EU citizens in North East Scotland. Six speakers presented diverse perspectives and more than 65 people attended the discussion that followed, raising the concerns of local communities.
Speakers and participants highlighted key issues regarding access to housing due to Brexit. EU nationals now face the same ‘hostile environment’ as non-EU migrants, with exhaustive procedures to live and work in the UK. When landlords and employers are required to take nine steps to check someone’s status online, it is likely to lead to a preference for applicants with a British passport or physical residence permit. Participants felt there was not enough information and guidance about the changes arising from Brexit, reinforcing that landlords and employers do not have enough knowledge of the new rules, which can lead to discrimination.
More broadly, people subjected to immigration controls have always been excluded from housing and homelessness provision, but prior to Brexit, this did not apply to EU citizens. Therefore, the Scottish Anti-Destitution strategy is undermined by Brexit and the impact of more people included in the No Recourse for Public Funds (NRPF) category. The absolute deadlines imposed by Brexit have made prevention of destitution much more complex.