Bill on candidacy rights for foreign nationals

Legislation ensures compliance with UK treaties with some EU countries.

New legislation has been published to ensure all nationals of Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain can stand as candidates in Scottish local government elections.

Following changes made in 2020, all nationals from these countries can already vote in local elections and those with settled status or pre-settled status can stand as candidates in local government elections.

The Scottish Local Government Elections (Candidacy Rights of Foreign Nationals) Bill will ensure those without settled or pre-settled status can also stand in local government elections in Scotland following treaties between these EU countries and the UK Government relating to the extension of voting and candidacy rights.

The Bill also allows Scottish Ministers to add to the list of countries through regulations if further treaties are signed.

Minister for Parliamentary Business George Adam said:

“The Bill will ensure compliance with treaties the UK Government has agreed in relation to candidacy in Scottish local government elections with these countries.

“Scots Law already allows Scotland to go further than most other countries in allowing all resident foreign nationals with any form of leave to remain to vote in Scottish Parliament and Scottish local government elections, but candidacy rights are limited to those with indefinite leave to remain and EU nationals with pre-settled status 

“The Bill is unlikely to affect many people at present, as EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status already have candidacy rights. But the Bill will ensure compliance with the Portugal and Luxembourg treaties, which are already in force, and allow the treaties with Spain and Poland to be ratified.”


The Scottish Local Government Elections (Candidacy Rights of Foreign Nationals) Bill

Subject to the parliamentary process the Bill is expected to come into force during the summer.


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