Nicola Sturgeon calls for ‘immediate guarantees’ for EU nationals living in the UK
Nicola Sturgeon has demanded “immediate guarantees” that European nationals living in Scotland will not have their residency called into question when the UK leaves the EU.
The Scottish First Minister has written to David Cameron and the five candidates to succeed him in Downing Street looking for assurances EU nationals will have the right to stay indefinitely.
Some 173,000 EU citizens live in Scotland, which voted to remain in the European Union at the 23 June referendum.
The Prime Minister has so far said the status of people from the EU living in the UK would not change while Britain undertakes the process of quitting the bloc.
But neither he nor Home Secretary Theresa May has clarified what would happen once Britain has formally left the European Union.
Labour has said it would never vote for a plan that could see EU citizens in Britain deported or undermine their rights.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe, yet citizens of EU countries who live, work and contribute to our country are understandably anxious and uncertain about what the UK referendum result means for them and their families.
"People from EU countries are an important part of Scotland's future. I am therefore seeking immediate guarantees from the prime minister, and all Conservative leadership candidates, that the residency status and the other existing rights of the 173,000 EU nationals living in Scotland will remain unchanged, now or in the future.
"This is a commitment that can and should be made and enforced now.
"It is imperative that the UK government respects those who have exercised their treaty rights and chosen to make a life in Scotland.
"Scotland is still firmly in the EU and we are pursuing all options to maintain our EU status - something that I underlined in my meetings in Brussels in the last few days."
She added: "Through the consular network I want to get the message out as far and as wide that we are an inclusive and outward-looking society that recognises the immense contribution EU citizens make to Scotland's economy, society and culture."
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has also argued the Government must put forward categorical guarantees to those living in Britain.
“There is real and legitimate upset and worry from European citizens across our country about their long-term status in the UK,” he said.
“The Liberal Democrats will not stand by while our communities are divided by uncertainty. Regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with Europe around Brexit, EU citizens who have made Britain their home must be allowed to stay.
“To Europeans whose lives are now rooted in the UK, my message is simple: the Liberal Democrats stand with you, and will speak for you.
“To the French family raising their children in Manchester, to the Polish mother working to pay her mortgage in Portsmouth, to the German graduate starting his business venture in Birmingham – the Liberal Democrats value you, we will stand by you, and we will champion your future here in Britain.”