A CALL has been made for everyone living in Scotland on the day of independence to be entitled to citizenship of the country.

Under Scottish Government plans unveiled in July, those entitled to automatic citizenship would include British citizens and individuals who have previously lived in Scotland for at least 10 years, or five years as a child.

People from other countries could also qualify for naturalised citizenship if they have been living in Scotland for at least five years and been “settled” in Scotland for at least 12 months.

But the new proposal, put forward for discussion at the SNP conference later this year, suggests it should be changed so that everyone residing in Scotland is recognised as a citizen on independence day - regardless of their country of origin or current nationality.

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This approach to citizenship is “fundamental to building a Scotland that is welcoming, diverse, and united in its pursuit of a brighter future”, it is argued.

Jeremie Fernandes, SNP councillor for Elgin City North, who is proposing the motion backed by the Elgin branch, said automatic citizenship would “cover everybody”, for example students, asylum seekers and those who had moved to the country shortly before it leaves the UK.

He said: “The motion is to seek to make sure every person resident in Scotland on the day of independence should get automatic right to Scottish citizenship.”

He said that there are a large number of New Scots who would potentially not meet the requirement of having lived in the country for five years on the day of independence.

“They already contribute to society – so why favour British citizens rather than make sure the right to citizenship is inclusive of everyone?” he added.

“We need immigration in Scotland – our population is ageing, so it would probably boost before independence the population, you could get people working in Scotland.

“But more than that, the people who are already living in Scotland the New Scots are living in a bit of fear since Brexit, never knowing when the rules are going to change or the visa will be cancelled.

“It’s about giving a bit of hope and telling people who live in Scotland there is something to look forward to - and then obviously they might be more interested in voting for independence if they have that that fear removed when Scotland becomes independent.”

The motion on the draft agenda for the SNP conference, which is taking place in Aberdeen in October, states: “Conference firmly believes that on the day Scotland achieves independence, everyone residing in Scotland should be recognised as a Scottish citizen, regardless of their country of origin or current nationality.

“Conference acknowledges that those who have made Scotland their home, irrespective of their roots, have enriched our society and have played an integral role in shaping our collective identity.

"Granting the right to Scottish citizenship to all residents on the day of independence not only upholds our commitment to equality but also symbolises our openness to embracing diversity and fostering a cohesive society.”

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“Conference regrets the Scottish Government’s commitment to giving automatic rights to Scottish citizenship on the day of independence to British citizens only.

“Conference, therefore, calls on the Scottish Government to change its policy and commit to automatically conferring the right to Scottish citizenship to all individuals residing in Scotland on the day Scotland becomes independent, regardless of their origin or current nationality.”

Fernandes said he hoped the motion would make it to the final agenda for discussion at conference.

“I think most members of the SNP see independence as a fresh start for Scotland, not just a continuation of the UK. So that continuation where you only give citizenship to British citizens.

“I’m confident if it gets on the agenda it will pass – I am hopeful members will vote for it to be on the final agenda.”