Scottish government advisors say a special ‘Scottish visa’ may help to combat population declines north of the border.
Experts advising Nicola Sturgeon’s administration said that post-Brexit visas to Scotland could encourage migrants to settle in the countryside.
Boris Johnson’s government has previously rejected the idea of separate immigration rules for different parts of the UK – saying it would be too complicated for employers.
However, the Expert Advisory Group on Migration said the UK’s new points-based system could still be changed to encourage migrants with skills to settle in rural areas of Scotland.
The group also recommended that the UK government consider easing the terms of its Brexit skilled labor visa so that employers in Scotland have their own ‘shortage of jobs’ list.
The advisory group made it clear that the Scotland-specific immigration program should identify jobs considered important for rural areas – and should not be aimed at achieving ‘replacement migration’ alone.
Report Says: “It should be targeted to attract migrants with skills and profiles that will meet the socio-economic challenges created by the declared population.”
Figures published last August The Western Islands and parts of Angus in the far north of Scotland showed fewer areas with increasing population.
A UK government spokesman responded to the report, stating that Downing Street “did not want to create an economic migration border between Scotland and the rest of the UK”.
These proposals come as Ms. Sturgeon’s government vows to continue fighting to remain part of the EU’s Erasmus exchange program.
Earlier this week, European Commission Chairman Ursula von der Leyen clarified that it was “not possible” to join Scotland. “The only possibility for the UK is to associate as a whole, or not at all.”
However, Constitution Secretary Mike Russell told MPs on Wednesday, “Let’s not give up.” There can be all kinds of possibilities that we can see.
The Holyrode minister said: “We have many friends in the European Parliament who are very keen to continue a union.”
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