Building a New Scotland: migration to Scotland after independence - easy read

Easy read version of the Scottish Government's proposals for migration policy in an independent Scotland.

Building a New Scotland

Migration in an independent Scotland

Easy Read version


For most of Scotland's history, many Scots have left home to live and work elsewhere.

But this has changed in recent years. Scotland is now a country with a growing population. More people want to come here to live and work.

When people choose to move from one country to another, we call this migration.

This is at risk because of the Westminster government's approach to migration. UK immigration policy does not suit Scotland's needs.

UK migration policy does not work for Scotland's economy. Evidence shows that some businesses are struggling because they do not have enough staff.

These shortages have been made worse by Brexit and the Covid pandemic. This has an impact on everyone in Scotland damaging our economy, our businesses, and our public services.

We need people to come here from other countries. Without migration Scotland's population is expected to fall.

A new approach

Independence would give Scotland control over migration policy to help grow its population. We would be able to make a fair and effective migration system.

This would be good for our communities and public services, including health and social care.

It would also be good for the people who want to live, work, and raise their families in Scotland.

Our migration system would be based on equality and human rights. Everyone's rights should be protected.

On independence, most people could still travel around the UK and Ireland. We would keep our close ties with our closest neighbours.

Scottish citizens would be able to live and work in Europe and European citizens could live and work in Scotland. This would happen once Scotland is able to rejoin the EU.

New visa routes

With independence, this Scottish Government would offer new visas to help people to live, work, study or invest in Scotland.

The main 'Live in Scotland' visa would allow people to live and work in Scotland with their families.

This visa would look at things like age, education, skills, and work experience. It would also look at how much a person can earn and the languages they speak.

The Live in Scotland route would also support migration to the countryside and islands. This would be good for those areas.

A new 'Scottish connections' visa would mean people with a connection to Scotland could keep living here or return here.

This includes people who lived here before for 5 years or more and people whose parents or grandparents lived here.

This would also include students and people who live in British Overseas Territories and registered British Nationals (Overseas).

This visa would last for 5 years and could lead to people living here long-term and becoming Scottish citizens if that is what they wanted.

The Scottish Connections visa would also help students who come to Scotland to study. They will be able to stay and work here for another five years after their course is over.

The 'Work in Scotland' visa would be supported by an employer. This would allow employers to get more workers from around the world.

We would have a seasonal worker visa route too. This visa would be for people who want to come to work in Scotland for a short time. Doing jobs that last for a season rather than all year round.

People wouldn't need to earn lots of money to bring their family to Scotland using our Family visa. This would make it easier for families to live together in Scotland.

We would make the immigration system easier to use. We would also make visa fees more affordable than they are now.

A new approach to refugee and asylum policy

Asylum seekers and refugees are people who have to leave their home country so they can be safe.

We want a new asylum and refugee system based on human rights, equality, and laws that apply to everyone. The system would give people help and support as soon as they arrive.

Unlike current UK policy, people seeking asylum would have the right to work and get support from our social security system.

Refugees would be allowed to stay in Scotland as a place of safety. Refugees who want to make Scotland their home will have the option to do so.

The UK government has used private companies to give accommodation to asylum seekers.

In an independent Scotland, accommodation for asylum seekers would be arranged with local councils.

There would always be some people who are refused asylum. They would still be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.

The climate crisis means some parts of the world are more difficult to live in than they used to be.

People in these places may need to leave their homes because extreme weather results in fires, storms, or floods.

We would work on a new visa system to give help to people in parts of the world worst affected by the climate crisis.


Scotland's people, our economy, our communities, our businesses, and our public services all benefit from migration.

Independence would give us the chance to make migration policy that meets Scotland's needs. This would allow Scotland to thrive.



Back to top