Scotland needs an immigration policy suited to our specific circumstances and needs. Scotland needs people to want to work here, in our businesses, our universities and in our public services. The current UK one-size-fits-all approach to immigration is failing Scotland.
The Scottish Government are establishing a new expert group which will explore the impact of migration on the population and demographics of Scotland. The group of academics will consider UK migration policy and how it will impact on areas of devolved responsibility.
The SNP will continue to seek devolution of immigration powers so that Scotland can have an immigration policy that works for our economy and society. And we will stand firm against the demonisation of migrants.
The SNP Scottish Government has published a new plan for a Scottish immigration system that protects our public services and economy. The plan sets out why a different approach is needed; how the UK government can address the challenges Scotland faces now; and how we can get on with building an immigration system that works for Scotland. You can read more about this plan here.
We believe the Scottish Government should have a role in deciding the ‘shortage occupation list’ – the list of occupations which have difficulties in finding suitable candidates in the UK – in order to attract the people that Scotland needs.
We will continue to make the case for the reintroduction of a Post-Study Work Visa scheme for Scotland – as recommended by the Smith Commission and supported by all parties at Holyrood. This would allow students who have came to Scotland to study to stay and contribute to our economy.
Throughout the Brexit process the UK government has treated EU nationals living in the UK as bargaining chips. It is shameful, and it must end. SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to confirm the rights of EU nationals to remain as a matter of urgency. We expect the rights of UK nationals living in the EU to be guaranteed in the same way.
The UK government recently introduced a Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers, including the public sector, of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year. This fee will lead to skills shortages, harm our economy and remove funding from frontline public services. We oppose this policy and remain concerned that the UK government will implement a similar charge for workers from the EU post-Brexit. SNP MPs will oppose any such moves, and press for the charge to be scrapped altogether.
And for those that have already chosen to make Scotland their home, we want a more compassionate approach to family migration.