JUST one in seven EU nationals living in Scotland has applied for settled status after Brexit, new official figures have revealed.

According to the Home Office, only 31,400 of the estimated 200,000 EU citizens in the country have submitted an application.

Under the scheme, people staying in Scotland who hail from another EU country must prove their identity, show that they live in the UK and declare any criminal convictions as part of applying for settled status.

The UK Government has indicated that whether a deal on Brexit is secured or not, EU citizens will have to apply for the scheme by December 31 2020.

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Across the UK, 621,400 applications have been made, with 445,000 now assessed as “concluded”.

About two-thirds of those applications received settled status, with most assessed as being resident in the UK for five years or more.

A third of applicants were granted pre-settled status – generally assigned to those who have not been resident continuously for five years or more.

Colin Borland, director of devolved nations for the Federation of Small Businesses, called for a change in approach: “One in four small employers in Scotland has at least one employee from an EU country, and this figure rises in key industries and geographies.

“Of course employers should encourage their staff to sign up for this programme, but it can’t just be left to business.

“While it looks like two-thirds of applications are immediately successful, only one in seven EU nationals in Scotland have applied. UK ministers need to kick the tyres of this scheme before it is too late.”

The SNP’s immigration spokesman, Stuart McDonald, agreed and said it was clear the policy was “simply not working and risks disproportionate damage to Scotland.”

He added: “As the recent Home Affairs Committee report shows, the shoddy design of the scheme means that millions of EU Citizens are at risk of forfeiting their right to remain if they fail to apply before the deadline”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our free and straightforward EU settlement scheme has already seen 750,000 applications”.