Scotland’s Europe Minister is calling on the UK Government to extend the deadline for the scheme allowing EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status.
The current deadline is June 30 and Jenny Gilruth said thousands of those eligible in Scotland have not yet applied.
She said those who do not apply before the cut-off date will have their lives “turned upside down”.
Applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will afford them legal status to carry on living and working in the UK now the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement has ended.
Ms Gilruth said: “The risks for EU citizens who do not apply to the EUSS by the 30 June deadline will be life-changing – they won’t be able to work, study, claim benefits, drive a car or open a bank account. In short, their lives will be turned upside down.
“We know that thousands of eligible fellow citizens living in this country have yet to apply – I call on the UK Government to therefore extend that 30 June deadline.
“In my view, this is a simple and practical way of avoiding another Windrush scandal.”
“The Scottish Government stands ready to do all we can to help citizens who do not apply, and my message to everyone from the EU who lives and works here remains this: Scotland is your home, you are our family, and we want you to stay here with us.
“But, until the UK Government extends the deadline for their EU Settlement Scheme, I must, sadly, reiterate that it remains critical that all EU citizens complete an application by 30 June 2021.”
The latest figures show 5.4 million applications have been made to the scheme, with more than 4.9 million grants of status.
As of April 30 there were 4.88 million applications from England, 268,500 from Scotland, 89,800 from Wales and 88,600 from Northern Ireland.
Earlier this month, the Home Office launched an information campaign urging EU citizens living in the UK to apply for its settlement scheme as soon as possible.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The EU Settlement Scheme has been open now for more than two years and we are pleased we have already surpassed 5.4 million applications.
“We have published guidance for grounds for making a late application and we will take a pragmatic and flexible approach when considering these.
“We have a dedicated team of more than 1,500 people working to process applications and we have also provide £22 million to organisations that support vulnerable people.”