The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has made a proposal for “Scottish Visa” as an option alongside the other UK visas that are set to be introduced post-Brexit. But the plan has immediately been turned down by the Home Office who said that immigration would remain a “reserved matter”.
Sturgeon’s strategy, announced in Edinburgh on Monday morning, last week, declared that migration is an issue which is crucial for the future, even though the Scottish Government doesn’t currently have the powers needed to deliver tailored immigration policies for Scotland.
The minister said that devolving immigration powers by introducing a Scottish Visa would allow Scotland to attract and retain people with the skills and attributes.
“Devolving immigration powers by introducing a Scottish Visa would allow Scotland to attract and retain people with the skills and attributes we need for our communities and economy to flourish,” Fergusonasserted.
Sturgeon’s idea has been supported by Ben Macpherson, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, who said that Scotland’s needs are different from the rest of the UK.
“The proposals for a tailored migration policy for Scotland are supported by employers, universities, and organizations across Scotland and are an essential part of sustaining and improving economic growth, prosperity and public services.
According to the Home Office, the UK Government will introduce a points-based immigration system that works in the interests of the United Kingdom, including Scotland.
The UK Government is expected to release its own policy statement in the coming days, setting out a new framework for immigration following Brexit, including an Australian-style points-based system.
A policy paper has been released by the Scottish Government on the Sturgeon’s Migration proposal. Under one model, the government, accountable to the Scottish Parliament, would define the criteria for the new visa, receive and assess applications and then nominate successful candidates to the UK Government.
The UK Government would then verify the identity of applicants and make relevant security checks before issuing a visa to successful applicants.
Migrants wanting to live in Scotland could choose to apply for a Scottish Visa or one of the existing immigration routes offered by the UK Government.
On September 2019, The UK government has decided to introduce harder border controls in the event of a no-deal Brexit, applying a tougher UK criminality threshold for EEA citizens in order to keep out and deport those who commit crimes, but didn’t specifically mention Scotland.
Moreover, the EU nationals who will arrive in the UK after Brexit will no longer have the right to permanent residence under retained EU law. They will be permitted to enter the country for short-term trips, but if they wish to stay beyond December 2020, they will need to apply for the EURO TLR.
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