Dismay over decision

Westminster rules out switch of immigration powers

Sara Thiam

Sara Thiam: ‘Scotland has distinct needs’

Immigration will not be devolved to Holyrood despite support for the idea from some business leaders.

The Home Office responded to the proposed switch of immigration powers to Scotland and the introduction of a Scottish visa by stating that “immigration will remain a reserved matter”. 

A number of business organisations gave it their backing, from tentative support to unconditional approval.

SNP MSP Tom Arthur reacted with dismay to the UK government’s dismissive response.

“Industry and employers recognise that getting the migration system right is vital for our social and economic wellbeing, and the support shown for the Scottish Government’s proposals are heartening.

“Considering that support, the UK government need to do much better than a curt dismissal.”

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said he UK Government should acknowledge that it is “possible and desirable to enable its immigration system to respond to different regions and nations”.

Sara Thiam, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, said: “Scotland has distinct needs in immigration. At SCDI we’ve long advocated for differentiation from UK system which is geared towards reducing net migration.”

Chris Deerin, Director of Reform Scotland, said: “We welcome this intervention by the Scottish Government. It is a step in the right direction and, even if the specific system proposed does not come to fruition, it should be taken seriously by the UK Government and treated as the starting point for a conversation and agreement.”

See also

Scottish visa plan

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