Immigration for an Independent Scotland


Since our inception, DavidsonMorris has been present in Aberdeen, a place we like to call ‘a home away from home’ in a beautiful city we have made our own.

Being acutely aware from the start that shortage of highly skilled workforce is a major issue for the region has allowed us to work with leading global organisations in successfully addressing and solving their global mobility, skill hire and transfer needs.

This focus and dedication on the region has resulted in our niche knowledge of the energy sector, and led to our being recognised as the leading immigration provider to the Oil & Gas Industry. Most importantly, it allows us the privilege to work with fantastic clients on key skill hires, thus giving us the chance and pride to positively impact their growth and that of the communities they inhabit and service.

As such, developments leading to the Scottish vote of 18 September 2014 are important to us and being followed closely.

With today’s unveiling of the Scottish Referendum White Paper, we bring you a headline summary of what Scottish independence could mean for immigration independent Scotland and citizenship as stipulated in the Paper:

  • Migrants have played an important role in enriching Scottish culture and boosting the economy; an independent Government would welcome people who want to live and work in Scotland
  • Continuation of the Common Travel Area with rest of the UK and no need for border checks between an independent Scotland and England
  • For non-EU nationals, Government will take forward a points-based approach targeted at particular Scottish requirements enabling incentives to migrants who move to live and work in more remote geographical areas, assisting with community sustainability or adding new categories of skills.
  • Lowering the current financial maintenance thresholds and minimum salary levels for entry
  • Re-introduction of the Post-Study Work Visa to encourage more talented people from around the world to further their education in Scotland
  • As a full EU member, Scottish borders would remain open to to EU nationals exercising their treaty rights
  • British citizens habitually resident in Scotland on independence will be considered Scottish citizens. This will include British citizens who hold dual citizenship with another country. Scottish born British citizens currently living outside of Scotland will also be considered Scottish citizens
  • Following independence, those who have a demonstrable connection to Scotland and have spent at least ten years living here at some stage, will also have the opportunity to apply for citizenship
  • Migrants on qualifying visas will also have the option of applying for naturalisation as a Scottish citizen
  • The UK allows dual or multiple citizenship for British citizens. If a British citizen acquires citizenship and a passport of another country, this does not affect their British citizenship, right to hold a British passport or right to live in the UK. The Scottish Government will also allow dual citizenship. It will be for the rest of the UK to decide whether it allows dual UK/Scottish citizenship, but the new Scottish Government expects the normal rules to extend to Scottish citizens.



Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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