Citizenship

Although these questions were created for the independence referendum in 1974, the Scottish Governments attitude to immigration remains the same.

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Who will be a Scottish citizen?

British citizens living in Scotland on day one of independence and Scottish born British citizens living outside Scotland will be automatically considered Scottish citizens.

After independence, children born in Scotland, and children born outside Scotland to at least one parent who has Scottish citizenship, will automatically be considered Scottish citizens.

A person who has a parent or grandparent who is eligible to be a Scottish citizen will be able to register as a Scottish citizen by descent.

Will I be able to get a Scottish passport?

Scottish citizens will be able to apply for a Scottish passport from day one of independence, with a Scottish passport costing the same as a UK passport.

People will be able to continue using their existing UK passport until it expires. They can then choose to get a Scottish passport when their existing passport is due for renewal.

We will remain part of the Common Travel Area between the nations of the British Isles. You won’t need a passport to travel to the rest of the UK or Ireland.

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Will we have borders between Scotland and England?

Given the uncertainty of EU membership for both the UK and an independent Scotland – whether one country or neither remain in the EU,  it is impossible to give  a definitive answer.

However Thresa May has said that when  the UK leaves the EU there will be no hard borders between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland. If we accept this as fact, after independence Scotland would remain part of the Common Travel Area in the British Isles, which means that no-one from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Ireland would need a passport to travel between these countries, in the same way as today.

Notwithstanding what has been said, the pro-Union advocates may use the threat of a border between England and Scotland as a campaigning ploy i.e. included in Project Fear part 2.

Updated September 2016

Will Scotland welcome immigrants?

Since pensions are paid out of taxes collected, in the future, Scotland will need more people in employment and paying taxes. We could achieve this is by:

  • Increasing employment through business creation and growth
  • Increasing employment by attracting international companies to Scotland
  • Increasing net migration – by only 2,000 people per year above the current rate of 22,000

There are several ways we could increase net migration:

  • We could encourage Scots who left to find work to return to Scotland
  • We could discourage Scots currently living in Scotland from having to leave to find meaningful work
  • We could allow foreign students the right to stay in Scotland after they graduate from Scottish universities – the UK system does not allow this
  • We could encourage more immigrants to come to Scotland

All of these things could be achieved by encouraging an industrial policy designed to promote a high skilled, well paid workforce within Scotland. Independence would give us the economic powers to do just that.

I am an EU citizen – will I have to leave if Scotland votes for independence?

The opposite is true – you would be encouraged to stay in an independent Scotland.

The Scottish Government wants to increase immigration from Europe and beyond. The Scottish population growth has been lagging behind European growth rates with the result that Scotland needs to increase its population.

As a member of the EU, Scotland would continue to welcome EU nationals excercising their treaty rights as workers, just as people from Scotland are free to move elsewhere.

The Government Economic Strategy sets out a number of actions to support population growth in Scotland.

Under the heading “Creating the conditions for talented people to live, work and remain in Scotland” they will achieve this by:

  • Ensuring that population growth supports the sustainability of many of our rural and coastal communities
  • Creating the conditions for a supportive business environment, and attracting international investment to Scotland
  • Engaging with other countries and international institutions
  • Effective provision of education and other key public services
  • Developing a fairer and more equal society

 

I am not an EU citizen – will I have to leave if Scotland votes for independence?

Immigration policy in an independent Scotland would be different from the current UK policy, which does not support Scotland’s migration priorities. The current Westminster approach is strongly focused on reducing the overall numbers of migrants and introducing number caps for certain categories of skilled individuals.

Our Universities are critical of restrictions on student visas, which harm their ability to recruit and retain the brightest students and academics from around the world. Attracting younger workers is also part of the current Scottish Government’s policy for tackling demographic change and an ageing population.

The Scottish Government wants to increase immigration. Scottish population growth has been lagging behind European growth rates – Scotland needs to increase its population.

For non-EU nationals, independence will enable us to develop and operate a controlled, transparent and efficient immigration system that best meets Scotland’s needs and supports our future growth. The current Scottish Government will take forward a points-based approach targeted at particular Scottish needs.

A particular issue for Scotland is the post-study work visa. There are more than 45,000 international students from every corner of the world studying in Scotland, bringing important investment, diversity and welcome expertise to Scotland. The current Scottish Government plans to reintroduce the post-study work visa.

The Scottish Government proposes to lower the current financial maintenance thresholds and minimum salary levels for entry to better align them with Scottish average wages and cost of living. This will open up greater opportunities for key skilled individuals from overseas who could play important roles in our society and economy, filling vital vacancies in individual businesses.