BREXIT will have concrete, negative consequences for Scotland and its people. For years, EU membership has allowed Scots to enjoy EU citizenship and the multitude of rights, freedoms and legal protections afforded by it.

Against the democratic voice of the Scottish people, the UK left the EU on January 31 and entered a transition period which will end tomorrow. Scots will lose the rights and entitlements we’ve long had thanks to EU membership, affecting our ability to study, retire and travel abroad in the EU.

Young people in Scotland will have their future opportunities significantly curtailed by our exit from the EU. Take Katie, for example, a 17-year-old school pupil from Glasgow looking to study in the EU for university. Last year, Katie could have done this with ease. If she chose to undertake her whole degree abroad in the EU, Katie would have been eligible for domestic fee rates.

Alternatively, as a UK university student, she could have easily undertaken a semester or year abroad at a European university through the EU’s Erasmus programme, which saw 14,000 Scots like Katie receive funding to study, train or volunteer abroad between 2014 and 2018.

As an EU citizen, Katie could have studied anywhere in the EU visa-free and, while there, driven hassle-free on her UK driving licence and enjoyed guaranteed free mobile phone roaming. She could also have relied on her European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access state-provided health care for free, or at a reduced cost, whether for emergencies or chronic, pre-existing health conditions.

However, Scottish students like Katie who apply to university following Brexit will have many of these opportunities stripped from them. Katie will have to apply for a student visa to study in the EU and may have reduced rights to work during and after her studies. She will no longer be eligible for domestic fee rates, making it far more expensive to undertake a full degree in the EU, and will no longer have access to Erasmus funding and the many opportunities this offers. Her UK driving licence will no longer be automatically accepted, she may end up with hefty roaming charges if she uses her UK mobile phone, and she will no longer be able to rely on her EHIC for healthcare while studying in the EU.

Brexit will also significantly complicate things for Scots who dream of retiring abroad in the EU. If Simon, an accountant from Edinburgh, had retired to Spain while the UK was still in the EU, he could have done so easily. As an EU citizen, he would have been able to retire to any EU country without needing a visa and would be able to continue to have his state pension paid into a UK bank account and uprated every year.

The National: UK/EU passport sign

Importantly, Simon would have had access to free healthcare in the country he retired to through the S1 scheme, which currently allows 190,000 UK state pensioners living in the EU to access state-funded health and care services in their country of residence on an ongoing basis.

However, if Scottish pensioners like Simon retire to Spain after tomorrow, their situation will be dramatically different. The end of free movement will mean that Simon has to apply for a residence visa.

With the UK outside of the EU’s reciprocal healthcare schemes, it will be much more expensive and complicated to retire to the EU after Brexit, with Scottish pensioners living in the EU required to either take out personal health insurance, self-fund, or return to the UK for treatment.

WITH many UK banks closing the accounts of expats abroad following Brexit, Simon will likely have to speak to a financial advisor about moving his pension abroad, which could result in additional changes and delays to payments.

For many Scots, countries like France and Italy are our favourite holiday destinations because of how hassle-free it is to visit other countries in the EU as an EU citizen. Families like the Donaldsons from Stirling have been able to go on their annual ski holiday to France with ease.

Their EU passports guaranteed them free and easy entry to the EU and, thanks to the EU’s Pet Travel Scheme, as EU citizens the Donaldsons were able to apply for a pet passport for their dog and easily bring them along for the holiday. Their driving licences were automatically recognised, making driving on their holiday stress-free, and they were able to use their UK mobile phones without fear of big bills when they got home thanks to the EU’s guarantee of free roaming within the EU.

Most importantly, the Donaldsons could rely on their EHICs to access state-provided healthcare, for free or at a reduced cost, in case one of them was injured or fell ill during their trip in the EU.

As a result of Brexit, Scottish families like the Donaldsons will find it far more complicated to go on holiday in the EU. As non-EU citizens, they will find themselves stuck in longer queues at airport border patrol and may be asked to show their return ticket and proof that they have sufficient funds for their stay.

They’ll also be subject to new passport rules, meaning that to enter the EU, their passports must have at least six months left before expiry and be less than 10 years old. Pet passports will no longer be available in the UK so the Donaldsons will have to go through a lengthy four-month process if they want to bring their pet with them to the EU.

Their UK driving licence will not automatically be recognised and they will no longer have guaranteed free roaming if they use their mobile phone in the EU. Moreover, the Donaldsons and the 27 million other Brits who have an EHIC will no longer be able to use it and will have to shell out on insurance which covers healthcare when travelling abroad in the EU.

The repercussions of Brexit on Scots’ rights and opportunities will be far-reaching and have a significant impact on Scottish lives. The Scottish National Party does not want to see Scots worse off as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. We believe that the best way forward is for Scotland to re-join the European Union as an independent nation to allow Scots to continue to enjoy the rights and freedoms that they have had for years as EU citizens.