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Migration and Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 4:19 pm, 11th February 2020

I have experienced politics in Scotland for a long time, and I believe the Scottish Parliament has a great deal of powers to improve the lives of the people of Scotland—the problem is the people currently operating those powers; the SNP Government are letting down the people of Scotland.

We have already announced the creation of a new graduate route, which will help our world-leading universities, including those in Scotland, to continue to attract talented young people, and allow students to stay and apply for work for up to two years after they graduate. It is important that these changes are introduced to the United Kingdom as a whole. Under the devolution settlement, immigration is reserved, and it is right that it continues to be so. It is also better for those using the system, both migrants and those who sponsor them, such as employers and educational institutions. There are many workers whose jobs are necessarily peripatetic, and trying to pin a worker down to a particular location is not a straightforward proposition. An assessment of an individual’s tax code would not be sufficient to determine their immigration status. It might indicate where an employee spends some of their time or even where a company’s head office is—for example, where payroll is managed—but it would not provide any certainty as to where an employee spends the bulk of their working time.

Let us imagine the burden for an employer who is constantly having to determine whether he or she can deploy particular workers to certain areas depending on the terms of their visa. Let us consider the example of an engineer who works for a company that has several contracts in both England and Scotland. Could a migrant on a Scottish visa fulfil that role? I foresee significant complications and litigation resulting from that.