Ms Sturgeon suggested that the 160,000 non-British citizens from other EU members states now resident in Scottish cities and towns could be stripped of their residency rights if Scotland was “outside Europe”.
More than 14 million EU citizens are resident in another member state – as part of the union’s core principles that permits free movement between countries.
However, Ms Sturgeon said Scotland being kept out of the EU would put at risk the residency rights of people from other European states living in the country after it became independent.
The deputy SNP leader said that the Scottish government had put forward a “robust and common sense” position on why an independent Scotland would automatically inherit EU membership due to its previous status as part of the UK.
Ms Sturgeon said yesterday that cities such as Glasgow, which has a large population of foreign EU nationals, would be harmed by the loss of automatic residency rights.
She said: “We have set down a robust and common sense position.
“There are 160,000 EU nationals from other states living in Scotland, including some in the Commonwealth Games city of Glasgow.
“If Scotland was outside Europe, they would lose the right to stay here.”
However, Ms Sturgeon was accused by Labour of “scaremongering” to avoid answering questions on explaining the Nationalists’ position on the EU in the run-up to the independence referendum on 18 September.
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “The people of Scotland want answers on Europe not more scaremongering from Nicola Sturgeon whose campaign is unravelling before her very eyes.”