Posted on Nov 14, 2014
Jamie Kerr, a specialist immigration lawyer with Dundee-based Thorntons has urged all European nationals currently living in Scotland to immediately register with the Home Office to ensure that they are protected should Britain decide to leave the European Union.
His warning comes in the midst of an intense debate about whether Britain should leave the EU and follow on the back of a speech by former Prime Minister, John Major, who said that there was a "very real risk of separation " and put the chance of a British exit from the EU at "just under 50%".
Reacting to John Major's speech, Kerr said:
"Over recent months, UK politics have been dominated by intense debate about immigration. With the rapid rise of UKIP, David Cameron is now offering a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU. John Major's comments that there's a 50% chance of Britain leaving shows that Europeans across Britain now need to take this seriously."
"Should the UK leave the EU, then all Europeans who are here lawfully under free movement laws will face uncertainties over their right to remain here."
"To avoid this, I would strongly encourage all European nationals to apply to the Home Office for a residence card. Many will be eligible for British nationality and will have never needed to think about applying for a British passport. If they are eligible, they should apply now to avoid severe problems if Britain moves closer to the EU door."
There are an estimated 2.5 million Europeans living in the UK and this includes nationals from all European countries including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden as well as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.