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Scotland's independence could see Kiwis eligible for passport

Published: 6:47PM Thursday January 17, 2013 Source: ONE News

Kiwis with Scottish heritage could be eligible for a passport to the land of their ancestors if Scotland votes to break away from Britain next year.

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders with at least one Scottish grandparent could become eligible for citizenship if Scotland opts for independence.

Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond told ONE News he would want to offer citizenship to an independent Scotland to as many descendants as possible.

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The offer could also allow citizens to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

"I think like Ireland, Scotland would want to use its global reach in the most effective way and make that sort of inclusive statement," said Salmond.

Salmond's Scottish National Party swept to power on the back of a promise to hold a referendum on independence.

The referendum is set for late next year and the result could affect the children and grandchildren of around 50,000 Scottish-born New Zealanders.

"Scotland's a country of five and quarter million people, we have a reach internationally, across the world we'd want maximum entitlement to citizenship," said Salmond.

However, the opportunity for citizenship faces plenty of hurdles.

A recent poll shows just over half of Scots want to remain with the British kingdom while nearly a third want to split.

It is not certain whether Scotland would automatically stay in the European Union if it becomes independent.