Humza Yousaf has set out “an open and inclusive” citizenship strategy for an independent Scotland as he took a dig at the UK Government for putting “barriers and excessive fees” in place.

The First Minister has set out the Scottish Government’s fifth paper in the Building a New Scotland’ series, drawing up who could automatically become a citizen of an independent Scotland and how others to qualify for Scottish citizenship.

His strategy will follow the Irish citizenship route where those who have one Irish parent can apply to be a national.

it would also allow people to reject becoming a Scottish citizen and remain British or vice versa.

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Under these plans, EU citizens resident in an independent Scotland or the UK before 31 December 2020 would be entitled to receive settled status in Scotland and a child born in Scotland after independence would automatically be a Scottish citizen if at least one of their parents was a Scottish, British or Irish citizen, or had ‘settled’ status in Scotland.

Those who want to become a Scottish citizen in the future, including those with close and enduring connections to Scotland, could follow rules to apply for citizenship.

An “interim constitution” would set out that British citizens living in Scotland, British citizens born in Scotland living elsewhere, British citizens living elsewhere but with a parent who was a British citizen born in Scotland would be entitled to citizenship.

The First Minister has also set out that “other British citizens with a close and enduring connection to Scotland would also be entitled to Scottish citizenship”.

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The plans would also allow British citizens living elsewhere who previously lived in Scotland for at least ten years, or five years as a child, with a pro-rata calculation for young adults to apply for citizenship at the point of Scotland becoming independent.

Mr Yousaf has pointed to Scotland’s “aging population” and “urgent demographic challenge”, insisting “we want to welcome more people”.

Other proposals in the paper include a fairer fee system for citizenship applications, based on cost recovery rather than revenue generation, and a commitment to establish an independent Migrants’ Commissioner – a key recommendation of the Windrush lessons learned review.

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Mr Yousaf said: “In this country, we are used to feeling a mix of identities.

“As a proud Scottish Pakistani, that’s something I understand and respect, and the policies in this paper would not require anybody to choose between being Scottish, British, or any other nationality.

“Instead, this paper proposes an open and inclusive approach to citizenship. One that welcomes people who want to settle in Scotland, rather than putting barriers and excessive fees in the way of individuals and their families.

“With our aging population, Scotland faces an urgent demographic challenge. That’s why we want to welcome more people, to join those who have already settled in communities across our country and are contributing to a better economy, higher living standards, and stronger public services like our NHS.”

He added: “Scottish citizens could also enjoy benefits such as the right to hold a Scottish passport, continued freedom of movement within the Common Travel Area, and eventually, following our commitment to re-join the EU as an independent nation, resumed rights as EU citizens.

“I hope this paper will help to answer questions people might have about citizenship in an independent Scotland, and I look forward to hearing people’s views on our proposals.”