It goes without saying that EU nationals make an invaluable contribution not just to our economy, but to our society and our daily lives. I can assure you that there will be no immediate change in the status of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom.
Similarly, I expect the discussions that the UK Government has with the European Union to agree the arrangements for the UK’s exit will undoubtedly reflect the immense contribution made by EU citizens to our economy, our NHS and our schools, and in so many other ways. The UK Government has also, rightly, indicated its desire to secure the interests of the 1.2 million British citizens who live and work elsewhere in the EU.
I am confident that we will be able to work to secure and guarantee the legal status of EU nationals living here as well as the rights of British citizens abroad, through reciprocal discussions with the European Union as part of the formal negotiations to leave the EU.
In the meantime, let me stress that EU nationals continue to be welcome in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.
There have been some truly abhorrent hate crimes perpetrated against EU nationals following the referendum, and we must not stand for attacks of any kind. They must be, and will be, tackled in the strongest possible terms.
Ruth Davidson MSP (Leader –Conservative and Unionist Party –Scottish Parliament)