Scots living abroad face uncertainty over their return

UK Government immigration proposals threaten family reunification.

Scots who currently live in another EU country, but who hope to come back to live in Scotland one day, will find it much harder to bring family members with them when they return, if and when the UK leaves the EU.

That is the prospect facing thousands of Scots as a consequence of the UK Government’s proposals for UK citizens in the EU post Brexit, Scottish Government Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson said today.

Mr Macpherson said that UK citizens living in the EU deserved guarantees from the UK Government about their rights to return home with family members if and when the UK leaves the EU.

He said:

“The ‘Stay in Scotland’ campaign launched by the First Minister earlier this month made clear how much the Scottish Government values the contributions made by EU citizens living and working in Scotland.

“Of course the negative consequences of the UK Government’s planned exit from the EU also extend to the rights of UK citizens living in other member states, and I am particularly concerned about the implications for those who hope to return to Scotland with their families in the future.

“Under UK Government proposals, due to come into effect in 2022, someone with a non-UK national spouse and children will no longer be allowed to return to Scotland with his or her family unless strict financial thresholds are met. This is unfair.

“I do not accept that someone’s ability to return to Scotland should be judged through arbitrary financial requirements, that do not take into account individual and often compassionate circumstances. The UK Government must seriously reconsider their proposals.

“Scots who want to return to Scotland from elsewhere in the EU should be able to bring their families with them, no matter how much they earn.”


The UK Government proposals include making UK citizens apply to bring non-UK family members into the UK through domestic immigration legislation. They propose a two year transition period during which UK citizens in the EU will still be able to rely on freedom of movement and any non-UK family members who enter through this route will need to apply for settled status to stay in the UK.

The UK government published their proposals on 4 April.


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