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Scotland – a separate system for global mobility?

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The Times newspaper has revealed plans by Scottish ministers to pave the way for a bespoke immigration system.

Scottish ministers are concerned that Brexit will lead to a fall in immigrant workers, who are vital to the Scottish economy. Alasdair Allan, the Scottish government’s Europe minister, raised this as an issue to the Europe Committee earlier in 2017. He said: “The Scottish government will continue to call for a less restrictive and more humane system from the UK which recognises individual and demographic circumstances.”

Scottish ministers are now to present an “options paper” to the UK government next summer, which will set out some concessions from the UK immigration system. The most far-reaching of the requested options could be Scotland having its own points-based immigration system with Holyrood in control. At the other end of the spectrum the Scottish government may simply look to expand the Scotland Shortage Occupation List or reintroduce a post-study work route, to give foreign graduates the chance to stay on in Scotland to find work. The Shortage Occupation List contains occupations which the country has trouble filling from inside Scotland. Concessions are made to the usual immigration process to bring in workers for these roles from outside the EU.

We will bring you more details as they are disclosed.