‘No-one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen’

Lesley Laird MP has warned a clear immigration policy is “urgently needed” following a visit to Fife Migrants Forum to learn about issues facing migrants since Brexit.

The Fife Migrants Forum (FMF), which is based in Kirkcaldy, works across a range of human rights issues and provides an interface between migrants and mainstream agencies.

As well as offering an interpreting service, FMF has forged good links with local employers and actively helps clients into the jobs market and sustainable employment.

Lesley heard, however, that since the decision was taken by the UK to exit the EU, less migrants are coming to Fife and more are leaving, citing that they feel less welcome.

Maciej Dokurno, FMF founder and chairman, has called on the UK Government to clarify the “small print” of future worker registration schemes, adding some clients are unable to complete the complicated 90-page long residential permit documents introduced since Brexit.

According to the National Farmers Union Scotland, lack of clarity on any future labour scheme under Brexit had already accelerated a decline in the numbers of EU workers in the Scottish agricultural sector.

“The work carried out by Fife Migrants Forum is vitally important,” said Lesley, “and I welcomed the opportunity to visit the team and learn more about the work they do on a day-to-day basis.

“Since the Brexit referendum, many migrants across the UK have said they feel unwelcome and I find that particularly disheartening and upsetting.

“No-one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen.  Scotland has a long history of welcoming people who wish to come and work and make Scotland their homes.   This has proved to be hugely beneficial to our economy, to our communities and to the multicultural ethos of our country.

“It’s of vital interest to all of us that a clear immigration policy be put in place as soon as possible; to guarantee existing rights for EU nationals in Scotland who require security to continue to live their lives, study, keep a job and raise a family but also for businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, for whom employment of EU workers is critical to their survival.”