THOUSANDS of EU nationals hoping for a Yes vote are currently planning to leave Scotland after giving up waiting for a second independence referendum, The National has been told.

Ash Burnett, national co-ordinator of EU Citizens for an Independent Scotland, said a high number of the 181,000 EU nationals north of the Border were considering returning to their country of origin or making a new home elsewhere in Europe before Brexit next March.

READ MORE: Why we want to leave – EU citizens fear for future without indyref2

She said many had been waiting for a plebiscite but without any plans for one being unveiled they believed they had to start establishing their lives abroad before facing increased competition for housing and jobs “because of Brexodus”.

Nicola Sturgeon said last year she would set out her plans at the end of the negotiations, once there was clarity on Brexit and last Sunday said she will reveal her plans in the “not too distant future”.

Burnett, who is both a French and UK citizen, said EU nationals wanted to know what course of action the First Minister would take.

“While I support the idea of needing clarity, we need to know by the end of December once and for all what the course of action is going to be – and what the route is going to be. Is it going to be a General Election where the SNP stand on a platform of a majority for independence or is there going to be a second independence referendum?” she said.

“Nicola Sturgeon has tried to reach out to EU nationals and assure us, but there is so much that is not within her power. And I’m afraid that ... if we have no prospect [of a new vote] in either in three months or six months we will not stay in a country that rolls back our rights so we come third class citizens. Even if [a referendum] is not going to happen until post March, we still need to know now.”

Asked how many people were considering leaving, she said: “I would say it’s thousands. This is from conversations I have been having with other EU nationals.”

She added: “Of those of us who are considering leaving and heading to one of the EU 27 countries, we don’t want to be at the back of the queue in terms of jobs and housing in the new places we go to.”

Burnett said many EU nationals would consider staying if there was going to be an independence vote. She said: “If we knew a referendum was coming, that there was an escape route from Brexit Britain, we might put plans to leave on hold.”

Her comments come a week after a millionaire who bankrolled the business wing of the independence campaign in 2014 urged the First Minister to call a second referendum or quit. Tony Banks said the First Minister was “getting to be as wishy-washy” as Theresa May. On a Facebook post Banks, founder of the Balhousie Care Group, said: “The democracy we live in does not respect the will of the people of Scotland. Civil disobedience, UDI [unilateral declaration of independence], another Scottish referendum – what lies ahead? “Time for the Scottish politicians to stand up for Scotland. If the SNP cannot get Scotland on an immediate road to leaving the UK then Nicola Sturgeon needs to go. Getting to be as wishy-washy as Maybot!”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The fact EU citizens feel their status in Scotland is threatened by the UK Government’s approach to Brexit is deeply concerning, and underlines the need for continued single market and customs union membership. The First Minister has made clear that she will provide an update in the near future regarding the position on an independence referendum.”