The Scottish Government are hosting an event in Edinburgh on Wednesday 17 August 2016 to provide an opportunity for EU nationals living, working and studying in Scotland to discuss the EU referendum result and ask the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and her Cabinet any questions they may have about Brexit.
It is unclear what assurances the Scottish Government will be able to give to EU nationals living in Scotland given that control of immigration and negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU are both reserved matters (see Sch 5, Part II, Section B6 and Sch 5, Part I, paragraph 7 of the Scotland Act 1998 respectively) and therefore out with the competence of the Scottish Parliament and Government. However, it is nonetheless encouraging that such an event is being held as it demonstrates the Scottish Government’s desire and commitment to making EU nationals in Scotland feel welcome here, despite the result of the referendum.
The First Minister and Cabinet will undoubtedly be faced with many difficult questions about the future of EU nationals in Scotland, the role the Scottish Government will play in the Brexit negotiations, and the extend to which Scotland will be able to negotiate differential arrangements within the EU whilst remaining a part of the UK. The answers, although unlikely to provide much clarity on what the future holds, will be very interesting.