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05 March 2020
Boris Johnson and Jackson Carlaw discuss making immigration more

David Anderson/Holyrood

Boris Johnson and Jackson Carlaw discuss making immigration more "flexible" for Scotland

Carlaw used his first meeting with the Prime Minister to press for ways to make the immigration system better work for Scottish agriculture and businesses

Boris Johnson and Jackson Carlaw have discussed ways to make the UK's new immigration system more "flexible" to suit Scotland's needs. 

In the first face-to-face meeting between the Prime Minister and the Scottish Conservative leader since the Scottish Tory leadership contest, Carlaw pressed Johnson to consider ways to make the system being proposed by the UK Government better work for Scottish agriculture and businesses. 

The Telegraph reports that Carlaw suggested making the Migration Advisary Committee's shortage occupation list more "flexible" to include jobs that are set to lose out on migrant labour. 

Inclusion on the list would allow employers to fill vacancies with migrant workers even if the job falls short of immigration requirements like the salary threshold. 

Carlaw has previously voiced concern that the immigration plans set out by Home Secretary Priti Patel last week could be bad for Scottish business and agriculture. 

Following the meeting with Johnson, he told BBC Scotland: "We discussed potential solutions - we didn't just say 'look, here's a problem' - and I'm absolutely confident that out of those discussions in the almost immediate period ahead there will be further progress.

"And I hope very much it will address the particular concerns that we've identified, which we made a commitment to in our manifesto, to ensure that Scotland's demographic and economic requirements are met in any future migration system."

But he said that he did not believe the Scottish Government's proposals for a Scotland-only visa were neccesary, saying that "other solutions" could be found that would address the concerns of the hospitality and farming industries.

He said that those sectors fear that "the kind of labour they absolutely depend upon is not currently accommodated as far as they can see within the proposals that have been made.

"It's that end of the spectrum I've looked very closely at with the Prime Minister. That is where I think the solutions that might emerge they will address."

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