Scots will be able to opt out of becoming Scottish citizens if the country becomes independent as Humza Yousaf suggested he would rip up his British identity after separation.

The First Minister also said we would “welcome” people from the rest of the UK moving to Scotland and becoming citizens in order to regain EU rights under plans for an independent Scotland to rejoin the bloc.

Mr Yousaf was speaking as he set out the Scottish Government’s citizenship strategy if the county separates from the UK.

The First Minister acknowledged that the issue of citizenship could de divisive in any Scottish independence campaign, but insisted his plans are “inclusive”.

The plans mirror the Irish citizenship route where those who have one Irish parent can apply to be a national.

Read more: Yousaf to follow Irish citizenship model for independent Scotland

The strategy would also allow people to reject becoming a Scottish citizen and remain British or vice versa by opting out of automatic Scottish citizenship.

He acknowledged that "for some people, they may not want Scottish citizenship”.

Mr Yousaf hoped it “would be a minority” that will reject becoming a citizen of Scotland, but added that “for whatever reason feel strongly about that”, they will be given the option to opt out of Scottish citizenship.

He added: “Given the context in which we’re having this discussion in, post-independence, I think we should give people that option.”

Mr Yousaf said he understood that people will “feel strongly about retaining their British citizenship”.

He added: “We should give them the option to do so.”

The First Minister said he would likely choose to give up his British citizenship and become a Scottish national.

Asked if he would keep his British citizenship, he said: “I’ve not thought much about it but I probably wouldn’t, no.

“I would just have my Scottish citizenship.”

His predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, said she would "consider myself British as well as Scottish".

Under the Scottish Government plans, EU citizens resident in an independent Scotland or the UK before 31 December 2020 would be entitled to receive settled status in Scotland.

Read more: Yousaf sets out 'inclusive' citizenship strategy for independence

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 said that he would actively “welcome” people from the rest of the UK moving to a post-independent Scotland in order to gain citizenship to access EU rights.

He said: “I would welcome them.

“We have demographic challenges. We have vacancies in important sectors, public and private I have to say, and we’re already working on trying to attract more people from the UK to Scotland.

“I think we would welcome that in that transition period in the run-up to Scotland becoming an independent nation.”

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.

Scottish passports would copy EU guidelines and be burgundy in colour, under the plans.

Mr Yousaf also insisted he is “confident” the Scottish Government will be able to continue to publish papers in favour of independence, despite Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary and head of the Civil Service, revealing earlier this month that civil servants north of the border could be issued with new guidance on such work within weeks.

The First Minister said: “I’m confident in our position in terms of the publication of these papers.

“But I think it also speaks volumes that those who oppose independence are trying to shut down the debate instead of bringing forward their proposals for maintaining the union.

“They’re more obsessed with trying to shut down our case.”

But Scottish Conservative shadow constitution secretary, Donald Cameron, said: “People across Scotland will be appalled that Humza Yousaf is focusing on yet another self-indulgent paper touting independence. It is the wrong priority at the worst possible time.

“This paper is not only a blatant misuse of public money and resources by the SNP, but it also demonstrates how out of touch they are with the public.”

He added: “Rather than wasting taxpayers’ money and civil servants’ time on pushing a divisive, party political agenda, a strong First Minister would be concentrating on Scots’ real priorities – cost of living difficulties, unacceptable NHS waiting times and the ferries crisis.

“We know the SNP want to make the next election another referendum on independence – but separation would mean a new hard border between Scotland and England, which would devastate the economy.

“The SNP don’t seem to have even thought about this huge issue, while choosing to dwell on citizenship instead.”

Scottish Labour constitution spokesperson, Neil Bibby, said: “Our NHS is in chaos and people are struggling to make ends meet during the worst cost of living crisis in decades – but as always, the SNP-Green government is distracted by its constitutional obsession.

“Humza Yousaf is completely out of touch with Scotland’s priorities and bereft of new ideas.

“After years of division and decline under the SNP and the Tories, only Labour is focused on the issues that really matter and only Labour can deliver the change Scotland urgently needs.”