Scottish MP: We're delighted to have Latvians in Scotland

Take note – story published 7 years and 10 months ago

Scotland is delighted to have Latvian immigrants and would do everything that's possible to allow them to stay if the UK leaves the EU. The country will also make it easier and less expensive to apply for Scottish citizenship if the country gains independence, Stuart McDonald, a Scottish MP and member of the Scottish National Party, told LSM's Kira Savchenko. 

What follow are excerpts from an interview discussing the scenarios voiced by Scottish officials over Scotland pushing towards EU membership and leaving the UK following the Brexit vote. The interview appeared first on Thursday.

"If Scotland is independent the ideal scenario is not to have any borders at all. The same way there is no border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. That’s what we are aiming for," said Stuart McDonald, answering a question on whether Scottish independence wouldn't mean the country closing up at least for a period of time.

Stuart McDonald, on borders and immigration in Scotland in case of independence
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"We are not aiming for borders. We are certainly not aiming to become more inwards. At the absolute opposite of it: we are aiming for independence so that we would have control over immigration power for example.

We absolutely are keen to encourage people to come and make Scotland their home and to have families here and so on.

We have definite demographic pressures from other parts from UK. The population is aging, so we are very welcome to young people to come here, to study and so on."

A lot people from the Baltic States are at the moment working, paying taxes and creating families in Scotland. What message would you send them?

McDonald: A message that Nicola Sturgeon has repeated over and over again in the last days: we want you to stay, we desperately want you to stay. You are very welcome in Scotland and we are delighted with the contribution that you make to our country – both economically and also culturally as well.

We are doing all that is in our power to ensure that they have the right to remain if UK will leave the EU. I strongly suspect that there wouldn’t be an issue that everybody would be entitled to stay. I regret very much of the British government playing politics about this.

The message from the Scottish government is couldn’t be clearer: we want you to stay, please do stay."

Aren’t you afraid that if UK or England is closed for free movement then thousands and thousands of immigrants will come to Scotland and your voters won’t like it that much?

You should be careful with generalizing England as well. Parts of England are still very welcome to immigrants. For a start, I don’t believe that the UK will stop free movement. I don’t think it will be able to negotiate a suitable deal that allows them to end free movement of people. The most of it there will be one or two limitations on free movement, but I’m sure if that will happen at all.

Secondly, even if they started applying the immigration rules on the EU nationals, you still would see lots of EU nationals, including Latvians and other Baltic nationals coming to the UK using those rules.

If that means that you’ll see an increase in people coming to Scotland then I do not for a minute see a situation where it is going to cause difficulties. The challenges that we have are not people coming to live here, but moving away from here.

Who is Scottish? For example, an English who lived in Edinburgh for five years – is he Scottish? Or a Latvian who moved to Aberdeen three years ago – is he Scottish?

These cannot be answered by me. They can only be answered by the persons themselves. If they feel themselves to be Scottish and they made Scotland their home then they are Scottish. If people feel that their affinity is to Latvia or Pakistani alone then they are still incredibly welcome as well.

Stuart McDonald, MP, on inclusive definition of Scottishness
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It is a very inclusive definition - if people see themselves as Scottish then they are very welcome to be Scottish. It is a completely separate issue from the citizenship of course.

I would just emphasize again to Latvia, to people who moved to Scotland from Latvia, we are delighted to have you and we hope you stay. You are very welcome and we appreciate that you contribute to the country.

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