Indyref – Borders after Indy?

This is not my work, it comes from ‘Rail Forums UK’ – the best explaination of borders post indyref I’ve seen anywhere.

Rail forums UK


Originally Posted by Gareth
Why does anyone ever put borders up anywhere then? At the end of the day, countries leaving their borders open is the exception not the norm. And personally, I don’t believe in people coming into and out of the country unchecked. What if the rUK leaves the EU, or at least ends the freedom of movement, which is very possible? What if Scotland has to join Schengen, which, as things stand, it would be obliged to? The only way I’d personally find it acceptable would be if the foreign Scotland closely followed rUK immigration and visa policies, as well as giving significant access to intelligence. It’s not about sabotaging Scotland. The very idea suggests that Scotland wouldn’t be able to cope. Far smaller countries manage but if you believe Scotland is that vulnerable, then is independence such a good idea?

Countries broadly enforce borders for 2 reasons: Customs and Immigration.

Assuming rUK and iScotland stayed in the EU they would remain within the same Customs Union so that probably rules out one reason. There is of course always a possibility that one or other of iScotland or rUK leaves the EU/doesn’t join the EU. While this scenario is unlikely if it did happen the level of trade between the EU and whichever country was not a member would necessitate either EEA membership (the Norwegian model) or a Swiss style bilateral treaty model. Either of these would be likely to retain a customs union (even if other elements of the EU were dropped like CAP or CFP) as the customs union is the primary economic benefit for both sides and something you would try and keep even after EU exit. Therefore Customs would not be a likely reason to erect a iScotland / rUK border.

The second reason for borders is Immigration. The UK maintains a border with the rest of the EU (excluding Ireland) primarily because the UK does not have mandatory ID cards. Therefore once an illegal immigrant enters the UK it is relatively easy to work/live/access healthcare etc without having to prove your nationality.

So you think to yourself – Of course the rUK will want to keep out the Scots who will now be foreigners in rUK with no right to be there?

Unfortunately for this argument, citizens of iScotland born before 2017 will have an automatic right to British nationality as a result of having British nationality acquired before independence. Many may choose to take dual nationality at the point of independence (as I certainly would).

Going forward iSCotland citizens would continue to have freedom of movement to the rUK as part of the EU so there would be no economic/political benefit from preventing iScotland citizens from moving freely over the border. The only people you are concerned with are non iScotland citizens entering iScotland externally and then crossing the open border. This is exactly the same as the Irish situation today and the reason why visa harmonisation between rUK, ROI and iScotland would continue post independence.

Now again you may say one/both countries could leave the EU in future. This would change matters slightly but not that much. All iScotland citizens born pre 2017 would continue to have the right to live and work in rUK via dual nationality, or if they haven’t taken this status they would have a similar right to the Irish citizens right of abode in the British Nationality Act 1981. Additionally the children and grandchildren of people born in the UK before 2017 would automatically qualify for rUK UK Ancestry Entry Clearance giving the right to work in the rUK for 5 years and then acquire indefinite leave to remain/rUK citizenship after that point (this is the method used by all the Aussie backpackers).

The only people living in iScotland who wouldn’t have the right to work in rUK, even if rUK left the EU, would be immigrants to iScotland who took out citizenship after 2017 and any children they had who did not have a single UK born grandparent.

So until 3 generations have passed from 2017 and rUK has left the EU and the EEA and has no bilateral freedom of movement treaty there will be negligible numbers of iScotland residents who do not have a legal route to work / live in rUK.

Therefore the economic benefits of a border (keeping out illegal immigrants) would be very low as there will be almost no one living in Scotland who could be an illegal immigrant to rUK until at least 2070 or so.

So yes in theory rUK could build border posts but what would they be for? If virtually everyone in iScotland has a right to live and work in rUK and everyone in iScotland has a right to move goods across the border, what would the border posts do except cost a lot of time, money and economic disbenefit for both countries?

As I say I am neither Scottish nor a nationalist but people who say things like “Of course there’ll be a border” without thinking about the reasons why borders exist are just daft.

— old post above — — new post below —
Originally Posted by Tobbes
I see no reason why Scotland wouldn’t be in the CTA if it votes for independence (though I hope it doesn’t). EU membership is much more complex than the SNP/Yes are implying, and it is most likely that for 18-24 months post independence, Scotland would be outside the EU, though a way to make the border work is in everyone’s interest. CTA is the way to go if the UK refuses to join Schengen (which I hope it does, soon).

I agree that EU membership and indeed other elements of potential separation are more complex than the SNP make out. My personal opinion is that iScotland would not declare independence until EU membership is acquired but this would likely be resolved by delaying the date of independence to 2018 or 2019 rather than having an interim not in UK or EU period.

I don’t think UK (with or without Scottish Independence) can ever join Schengen until mandatory ID cards are introduced, which seems unlikely in the medium term to be politically acceptable.


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