UK immigration plans see calls for separate ‘Scottish visa’
- There has been widespread condemnation in Scotland of the UK government’s immigration plans, as industry bodies representing tourism, farming, fishing and care work say Westminster’s refusal to take into account the country’s unique population challenges make an unarguable case for a differentiated Scottish scheme after Brexit.
- The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described the plans as “devastating for Scotland’s economy” and called for powers over immigration to be devolved to the Holyrood parliament, as she proposed last month in a policy paper setting out her own plans for flexible “Scottish visa” to deal with the country’s falling birth rate and ageing population.
- Underlining his support for an alternative Scottish visa, Marc Crothall, the chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, described the Westminster plans as “the biggest threat to Scotland’s tourism industry”. The industry accounts for one in 12 Scottish jobs, and around one in five posts in the sector are filled by overseas workers.
- Warning that the plans would hit rural Scotland hardest, Crothall said: “Scotland’s situation is unique, we have very fragile areas in our economy and it is more important than ever that we’re able to attract and retain people, particularly in the Highlands and Islands and other rural areas.”