A positive vision for Scottish citizenship - Lorna Slater

I was delighted to join the First Minister for an inspiring roundtable event at National Records of Scotland, where we laid out a progressive and inclusive vision for Scottish citizenship after independence.
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna SlaterMinister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater

It was very personal for me. Like many new Scots I would love the chance to be a Scottish citizen.

I have experienced a very warm welcome since arriving in Scotland from Canada in 2000. That’s a large part of why my plan for a short post-study experience has grown into more than 20 years of living, working, building friendships and being involved in my community here in Edinburgh.

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I love it here. The bustling energy of the Festival, the wild storms of our seas and the iconic beauty of the coasts and countryside which are a short train ride away.

So many people have told me that “if you live in Scotland, you are Scottish.” I am proud to be part of a Scottish Government that wants to take that further and put that sentiment at the heart of its plans for citizenship.

With independence we will make an open and welcoming offer on citizenship, one that recognises the different paths people may take to get here and that many are comfortable with dual nationalities.

We want to take the pain and anxiety out of the process and make it easy for people to become Scottish citizens through a straightforward and affordable process.

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For those who have left Scotland to live elsewhere, we want to make it easier to maintain a real sense of connection through a system that allows citizenship to be passed through generations.

That citizenship would come with all the rights that will be enshrined in the constitution we write together as an independent nation.

This proposal says a lot about the kind of country we aspire to be: one that is welcoming, and generous.

Our approach stands in stark contrast to Westminster’s hostile environment and disastrous Brexit, which has seen the systemic punishment of some of the most vulnerable people in the world while denying entry to so many who would have contributed so much.

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By rejoining the EU after independence, we can ensure all Scottish citizens regain what we lost with Brexit: the freedom to work, study, live and love in 31 nations across Europe.

As well as being the right thing to do, the approach that we are calling for is vital for Scotland’s future. By offering a positive and straightforward system of citizenship we can encourage people and families to come here to contribute to our society and economy.

I want everyone to feel welcome in Scotland, and to have a sense of belonging. I want everyone to know that they can be part of building something new and better.

For me, and many other proud ‘new Scots’, having Scottish citizenship and finally being able to not just say “I’m Scottish”, but to have the papers that back that up, will be a dream come true.

Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.