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Migrants welcome

Published: 21 Jan 2017 09:00

Vital contribution to economy and society.

The Scottish Government will oppose any changes to UK immigration rules that create barriers to business and industry accessing the talent it needs to grow, Alasdair Allan reinforced today.

His pledge comes as the Scottish Government submitted its response to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into immigration policy this week.

As stated in Scotland’s Place in Europe, published in December, the UK Government has again been urged to deliver an immigration system that meets Scotland’s needs, and to recognise that many sectors of the Scottish economy are reliant on migrant labour.

The submission also highlights that current UK student visa policies hamper efforts to attract the best international talent to Scottish universities and colleges.

It also presents evidence of the benefits of migration and the importance of inward migration in mitigating the effects of demographic change in Scotland. It is estimated that 90% of Scotland’s population growth over the next 10 years is projected to come from net migration.

Addressing the Migrant Voice conference in Glasgow, the Minister for International Development and Europe said:

“Scotland has a long history of welcoming people of all nationalities and faiths, and of supporting their integration into the Scottish way of life and recognising the vibrancy they bring to our society and culture.

“Our response to the Home Affairs Select Committee underlines that migration is key to supporting sustainable population growth. Any move to limit migration, whether from within or beyond the EU, has the potential to seriously harm our economy.

“There is robust evidence that migrants are not a drain on society and can contribute significantly if they are given the same rights and opportunities as any other citizen. Scotland’s 369,000 migrants from outside the UK are mostly young, economically active and highly qualified.

“Brexit will cause immeasurable harm to our country. Despite her warm words on the issue, the Prime Minister failed to deliver the cast iron reassurance to EU nationals living here in her speech earlier this week.”