Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
Since 2019 the Welsh Government has provided over £2.7million worth of funding to ensure that EU citizens apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and stay in Wales, if they wish to do so. This funding has been, and continues to be, used to ensure that all EU citizens living in Wales are aware of the scheme and have access to free immigration advice, no matter how complex the case. In 2019 it was anticipated that around 70,000 EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in Wales would apply to the EUSS, but in fact nearly 112,000 applications have been made and many have had the support of one of our funded partners.
The support to date, provided by both the Welsh Government and funded partners such as Newfields Law, Settled and Citizens Advice, is a clear indication that EU citizens continue to be welcomed in Wales after Brexit. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens enrich our communities and contribute to our economic success and the Welsh Government has always been determined to ensure that citizens who have chosen to make Wales their home continue to feel valued members of our communities.
I am pleased to announce that an additional £200k will be provided to enable Citizens Advice and Settled to continue to provide this support for the next financial year and Newfields Law will see its contract extended for an additional six months to enable the firm to support the health and social care sector with overseas recruitment, which will include further support for EUSS applications.
I hope EU, EEA and Swiss citizens see this further support as a commitment to the Welsh Government’s ethos of Wales being a place of Sanctuary and we should take this opportunity to reflect on the great work that has been done here in Wales.
The Welsh Government has recently received comments from the Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom, and from visiting members of the EU’s Economic and Social Committee, expressing gratitude for the generous support that has been provided to enable EU citizens to continue to reside in Wales.
I would like to thank our funded partners and all other partners delivering support for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals here in Wales.