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Free movement of people vital to economy

Published: 27 Sep 2017 13:35

Business leaders discuss effects of migration.

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell and Minister for Europe Alasdair Allan were joined in London by a range of business leaders to discuss the possible damaging effect of Brexit on the Scottish economy.

A wide range of sectors from financial services to food and drink were represented, and discussions focussed on the implications of the UK government’s position on immigration, borders and free movement; and options for differentiation of immigration powers for devolved administrations.

Following the meeting Mr Russell said:

“Attracting talent from across Europe is vital to our economy and there is growing evidence of the need for a tailored approach to immigration to meet the needs of different parts of the UK.

“Today’s meeting has been hugely beneficial to continue to hear directly from businesses what their concerns are around Brexit and how we can work together to minimise any negative effects on Scotland’s workforce. We will reflect on what we’ve heard today as we develop policy options and continue to engage with the UK government on new powers.”

Chris Cummings, CEO of the Investment Association, said:

“Scotland plays a crucial role in the investment management industry. Almost a quarter of assets managed by UK headquartered firms are done so from Scotland, accounting for £620 billion.

“Scotland's ability to continue accessing high skilled talent from around the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the world is vital for our industry to thrive."

Julia Onslow-Cole, Partner, Legal Markets Leader & Head of Global Immigration at PwC LLP said:

"Scottish businesses, in line with the wider UK economy, face important immigration challenges, partly because of demographic issues, and it will be important that a future immigration policy caters for the whole of the UK. 

"UK immigration policy needs to be responsive to business needs in different parts of the country and a flexible approach would be most appropriate for the future."