YES campaigners have demanded an apology from Better Together amid claims that No activists warned Polish and other EU nationals that they would be forced to leave the country if Scotland became independent.

Lobbyists for independence say they became concerned after Poles contacted local Yes representatives to ask whether Scotland leaving the EU following a Yes vote would put their residency at risk. They said they had been doorstepped by No activists who suggested their automatic right to live in Scotland, protected by EU free movement of people laws, would be placed in jeopardy by independence.

Marek Soltysiak from Edinburgh said he was warned by No activists that a Yes vote would force Polish nationals out of Scotland as they would "no longer have the right to live here".

The scare tactics have been condemned by the pro-independence group Polish for Yes which has called on the No campaign to withdraw their claims and apologise for creating anxiety and fear among Polish families.

Soltysiak, who is also the director of the organisation, the Polish Community in Scotland, said: "Scotland is our home. We've lived and worked in Scotland for 10 years, our livelihood is here and we plan to spend the rest of our lives here. To suggest that we will all be deported following a Yes vote is patronising and insulting. I know many other families that have been intimidated by these lies."

European nationals have the right to live in Scotland through the freedom of movement regulations - one of the EU's core principles - which the UK Government has been critical of and is seeking to reform.

Membership of the EU has been one of the key flashpoints in the referendum debate. The Scottish Government says it could negotiate entry as an existing member state within 18 months of independence using Article 48 of the Treaties of the European Union.

Pro-Union voices insist the only available option to an independent Scotland would be applying for re-entry via Article 49 as a new member state, a process which could take years with no guarantee it would be approved.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs, said: "Scotland will be part of the European Union and the freedom of movement between Scotland and all EU countries will continue. But, in addition to that, this government is committed to Scotland's European migrants.

"It's appalling that Project Fear has reached a new low in their campaign but for the avoidance of any doubt I can give a categorical commitment that our EU nationals will have the right to live in an independent Scotland."

Maciej Wiczynski of Polish for Yes said: "We won't be intimidated - it's abundantly clear that all the threats to our EU membership come from Westminster. Not only are they planning an EU referendum to drag us out of Europe, they're also trying to scrap freedom of movement laws - the very laws that allow us to be in Scotland in the first place."

Toni Giugliano, head of interest groups at Yes Scotland, said: "We're hearing reports of activists intimidating Polish nationals in this way all over Scotland and frankly it's the worst form of campaigning.

"They're deliberately creating anxiety and scaring people into voting No - scraping the very bottom of the barrel. It must stop now."

He added: "What a contrast between Yes and No. We have the broadest, most progressive movement Scotland has ever seen - from Polish for Yes to Scots-Asians for Yes - while on the No side they have rallies for Farage and the Orange Order."

However, Better Together rejected the claims. A spokesman for Better Together said: "We have no idea what they are talking about. If they have evidence of this going on, then let's see it."