FM will announce that anyone with a parent born in Scotland will be able to apply for Scottish citizenship if country leaves UK
By Bill Heaney
Scotland would adopt a citizenship model similar to that of Ireland if it ever becomes independent, the First Minister has announced.
Humza Yousaf will unveiled the fifth paper in a series laying out the prospectus for Scotland focusing on immigration and citizenship.
The Scottish Government has long-advocated increased immigration to cope with an aging population, with former first minister Nicola Sturgeon publishing plans for a separate Scottish visa in 2020, which was almost immediately rejected by Westminster.
Speaking at a round-table event in Edinburgh, Yousaf, left, announced that anyone with a parent born in Scotland will be able to apply for Scottish citizenship if the country leaves the UK.
The paper will also lay out the rights of British nationals to claim dual citizenship, as well as how the process for foreign nationals to apply will be streamlined.
The First Minister said: “The Scottish Government’s proposals for citizenship in an independent Scotland – they are inclusive, bold, and they will help boost both our population and economy.
“Scotland’s working population is being hit by a heartless Westminster migration system that isn’t fit for purpose, and a hard Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for, making our population challenges significantly worse.
“I am in no doubt that alongside the climate crisis, the challenges of an aging population are one of the biggest issues future generations will face in Scotland, unless action is taken today.
“The Scottish Government wants to make it easier for people, including those seeking to reconnect with family roots, to gain citizenship and contribute to our economy, society and public services like the NHS.
“And when we re-join the EU as an independent country, Scottish citizens will be able to enjoy all the benefits of EU citizenship too.
“An independent Scotland will be a welcoming country as part of our ambition to be an inclusive, progressive and prosperous nation. I look forward to the debate about what citizenship will mean in a modern, independent Scotland.”
Scottish Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said the paper was “more therapy for Humza Yousaf and the nationalist movement than a serious attempt to persuade people to support their cause”.
“Even if it is just for a few hours, it must be a great relief to be distracted from broken ferries, ever longer waiting lists and a social care backlog that mushrooms,” he added.
“But the SNP shouldn’t be using Government time and money when funds are tight and for something that they know just isn’t going to happen. A majority of people want Government to focus on the day job.”