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What happens to my immigrant husband if Scotland becomes independent?

(18 Posts)
FiddleDiddleDiddle Tue 28-Jan-14 11:31:12

Long story short, hubby is a South African with permission to remain indefinitely in the UK. There's a job he'd like to apply for in Scotland.

If he gets said job, and Scotland votes 'Yes' and gets independence, and hubby has permission to remain indefinitely in the UK - would he have to leave Scotland, as it would no longer be part of the UK?

Or would he have to renegotiate and apply for permission to remain indefinitely in Scotland?

OhBuggerandArse Tue 28-Jan-14 11:32:43

It'll all transfer. Don't worry.

STIDW Tue 28-Jan-14 13:41:08

If Scotland did vote "Yes" the immigration system would remain pretty much the same to what exists now. There is already a common travel area with no border controls between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Ireland. It's similar in Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).

FiddleDiddleDiddle Tue 28-Jan-14 14:32:41

That's not really the case though STIDW, because Scotland will have to reapply to join the European Union and they could conceivably insist that Scotland becomes part of the Schengen zone. I know the 'yes' people are saying this is unlikely, but it's not out of the question.

So in this case you've got a man (my husband), living in Scotland, with no border controls (except to England which is NOT part of Schengen) who has permission to remain indefinitely in the UK (which Scotland is then no longer part of) but who does NOT have permission to travel to other countries without a passport and a VISA?!

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 28-Jan-14 14:36:22

Scotland won't vote Yes.

OhBuggerandArse Tue 28-Jan-14 14:37:06

Are you trying to find reasons for him not to apply? It does sound like it.

There will be years between a yes vote and independence for all these things to be worked out. UK citizenship/nationality/residency will all transfer in any case.

I think you're making problems where there really aren't any.

STIDW Tue 28-Jan-14 16:18:51

There are different interpretations of EU law and what this means for Scotland and the EU. If, and I agree with Middleagedmotheroftwo it is a big"if" this time round, Scotland does vote "Yes" in the referendum it is by no means certain Scotland will have to reapply to join the EU.

However if anything there is likely to be less restriction on immigration under future Scottish Governments. The Scottish Parliament has regularly been critical on UK policies on immigration and asylum. If Scotland becomes independent it can develop an immigration system that best suits Scotland's particular circumstances and needs. Scotland isn't a densely populated country and needs workers from overseas to tackle demographic change and an ageing population.

ladyjulian Tue 28-Jan-14 16:57:47

If he has ILR can he apply for British citizenship? He only needs to have had ILR for a year to apply (and meet the other requirements but that's the big one).

Also, since current law allows him to live & work in Scotland I think it is extremely unlikely that they will boot him out along with every other migrant who was granted ILR pre-independence, if independence even happens.

STIDW Tue 28-Jan-14 20:49:43

BTW open frontiers between Schengen and non Schengen countries are possible. The original Schengen Agreement only brought together the Benelux Common Travel Area with the proposed open frontier agreement between France and Germany. In Scandinavia the Nordic Common Travel Area provides for open frontiers between Denmark, Sweden, Finland (all now members of the EU), Norway and Iceland.

Chunderella Tue 28-Jan-14 21:01:12

It would be batshit for them not to have some kind of transitional provisions in place. And as STIDW points out, Scotland needs young workers. I would be pretty shocked if there were no provision for someone who's been offered a job to be allowed to reside, especially if they previously had the legal right to live and work in the country!

K999 Tue 28-Jan-14 21:19:00

Immigration and citizenship policies are outlined in the white paper for independence. Worth a read.

FiddleDiddleDiddle Wed 29-Jan-14 09:27:19

I'm really not trying to think of reasons for him not to apply. I'd love for him to apply. I'm a Scot and would desperately love to live in Scotland again.

I just think (like so much of the 'yes' campaign) that these details have really been glossed over in a kind of 'it'll all come out in the wash' way, but that's not good enough. My husband does not have permission to travel to other countries without a VISA. Scotland could well have to join the Schengen zone. If that occurs, and he lives in Scotland, without border controls, are they just going to grant him permission to visit other countries unchecked, or are they going to send him back to the country that did grant him leave to remain?

It's not really a case of 'I'm sure it'll all be ok' because you can't make life-changing decisions based on a 'probably'. Due to being qualified overseas, it's hard for DH to find work, so if he got this job he'd have to be very secure in it. He supports our family and has no access to public funds. Hence me looking in depth into this.

He can apply for citizenship but it costs a grand and we don't have that kind of spare money by any stretch of the imagination.

My problem with the white paper is that it works on a lot of assumptions. I found it very disappointing reading.

I also think that if Scotland got independence and had to 'put its money where its mouth is', there would be a lot that they had previously criticised about Westminster that they end up backtracking on. It's easy to say you'd do so much better, not so easy to actually implement!

I hope you're right about them not voting for independence. I think it's madness.

Thanks for all the replies. I don't think it's the kind of thing we can risk even on a 'I'm sure it'll be fine'. Unless there is a firm commitment that any future Scottish government would automatically transfer residency permits from UK ones then it's a risk, however small, and not one we can take.

Chocotrekkie Wed 29-Jan-14 09:45:14

Would it be an option to take the job and then save to apply for the citizenship.
You say it costs about a grand - that's only £10 a week for a couple of years which if this job is good enough to move to Scotland for might be ok to do ?

Even in the worst case scenario it would be years down the line - so he would have had the benefit of this job for a long time and with it the references,experience, training etc

Worst case and the new independant Scottish government ask him to leave a good Scottish employer will know his industry - so he knows a person who does a similar job in say Manchester and will put in a good word for him.

Chunderella Wed 29-Jan-14 09:50:26

I understand re citizenship fees. It's a huge amount. The thing is, they aren't going to get any cheaper and the process isn't going to get any easier. If you can't get the fee you can't get the fee, but if you're sure your future as a family lies in the UK as it is currently constituted, I'd want to be very sure I'd explored every avenue for obtaining the fees before ruling it out. You mention him having no access to public funds- are you sure? People generally do if they have ILR. What route did he take, was he on a spouse visa before? Also do you know that even if he isn't entitled to public funds, other British family members whose incomes entitle them can still claim for themselves?

Regarding independence, the polls suggest it'll be a no right now, but obviously the vote is a while away yet.

Sillybillybob Sun 02-Feb-14 13:42:25

I agree with Chunderella. I practise immigration law. I could be wrong but I'm not aware of any ILR which specifies no recourse to public funds. Happy to be corrected as I'm aware I don't know everything!

LauraBridges Sun 02-Feb-14 16:49:17

I think a third of Scots only will vote in favour so don't worry about it. Could you live just over the border eg Berwick on Tweed in England and then he just travel to work in Scotland each day if the worst happened (or just fork out the £1k if is such a great job)?

PlasmaBall Sun 02-Feb-14 16:57:59

Wouldn't he qualify to stay by virtue of being married to a scot anyway?

I agree there is an awful lot of detail the yes campaign simply won't talk about in any detail.

Vatta Sun 02-Feb-14 17:10:02

I agree with you op, there's just no certainty about what would happen after a yes vote. Salmond glosses over everything, but you can't base your life on him just saying it will all be fine. Don't think you should take the risk tbh.

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