Scotland should push for a “differentiated” immigration deal to rUK, says External Relations Committee
Holyrood committee warns the 181,000 EU nationals in Scotland are facing “imposed uncertainty” because of Brexit
Scotland should push for a “differentiated” immigration deal to the rest of the UK, according to a new report from the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations committee.
Examining the repercussions of Brexit, the Holyrood committee warned the 181,000 EU nationals in Scotland are facing “imposed uncertainty” because of Brexit and that the demographic risks of falling migration are “more acute” in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
The reports states that the majority of EU migrants are of working age and help to offset the effects of an ageing population. With higher fertility rates, they have also helped reverse population decline.
It said: “The evidence that we have collected shows that the demographic risks for Scotland of a reduction in the number of EU migrants are more acute than for the UK as a whole.
“This leads us to conclude that there has to be a bespoke - or differentiated - solution for immigration policy in Scotland in the future. The committee also recognises that there may need to be a bespoke solution that can respond to skills or demographic needs in other parts of the UK.”
But the two Conservative members of the committee – Jackson Carlaw and Rachael Hamilton – said the report did not represent their views, with the party calling for an immigration policy based on sector, rather than geography.
The UK Government has previously suggested any immigration deal would need to apply to the whole of the UK.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We're clear that we want protect the status of EU nationals already living here, and the only circumstances in which that wouldn't be possible is if UK citizens' rights in European member states were not protected in return.”
But the Scottish Government said it welcomed the report.
A spokesperson said: "EU nationals make a valuable contribution to our society, culture and economy, adding to the diversity of our communities and supporting local businesses and jobs.
"We want EU nationals in Scotland to feel settled and secure and we continue to urge the UK Government to provide assurances that their immigration status and rights will not change in the future.
"Any move to strictly limit migration, whether from within or beyond the EU, has the potential to seriously harm our economy.
"There is a growing support for Scotland to be able to determine our own immigration policy, and the proposals we published in December would see immigration devolved.
"These proposals are designed to keep Scotland in the single market even if the rest of the UK leaves."
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