Scotland must have powers over migration to build a system fit for purpose

Boris Johnson’s proposals to cut migration represent nothing less than an act of vandalism on Scotland’s interests – stifling economic growth, harming public services, and depriving us of talented hard-working individuals who make an immense contribution to our society.

Scotland relies on migration to grow our population and fuel our economy – more so than anywhere else in the UK.

Scottish Government’s analysis recently revealed that each EU citizen working in Scotland generates an additional £10,000 in government revenue and adds £34,000 to GDP each year.

However, this is under threat from the Tories’ ideological obsession with migration cuts. If EU migration into Scotland were to fall by half after Brexit, Scotland’s GDP would be lower by almost £5 billion a year. Simply put, Scotland cannot afford more of Westminster’s failed approach to migration.

That’s why the SNP is calling for the devolution of powers to create a Scottish immigration system that’s fit for purpose and fit for Scotland’s needs.

The SNP has been united and consistent in standing up for the benefits of migration, and today, we are unveiling our proposals to introduce a Scottish visa which would be tailored to Scotland’s needs – with the criteria and rules set in Scotland.

Our own immigration system would serve the needs of Scotland much better than a system designed in Westminster, and would aim to reflect our humanitarian, welcoming and open-minded culture.

Our EU membership gives Scots the right to seamlessly travel, work, live and study across 27 European countries, broadening horizons and expanding opportunities. All of that is under threat from Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit, tied to a migration approach straight out of Nigel Farage’s playbook.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party also can’t be trusted to stand up for migration – Labour MPs have backed the initial stages of the Tory Immigration Bill in Parliament and failed to protect freedom of movement, before being forced into an embarrassing U-turn by pressure from SNP MPs.

Meanwhile, whilst in coalition with the Tories, the Liberal Democrats supported measures such as the arbitrary net migration target and the hostile environment.

It’s time for Westminster to stop riding roughshod over Scotland’s interest, and start listening.

The best way to send them an unstoppable message is to vote SNP on December 12 and elect progressive SNP MPs who will always stand up for freedom of movement and the benefits of migration for Scotland.

It is clearer now than ever that the best way to protect Scotland’s interests is with independence, and in this crucial general election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.