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Migration and Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 5:29 pm, 11th February 2020

The hon. Gentleman obviously makes a very good point. However, as I said in answer to the point raised by my hon. Friend David Duguid, there is no reason why we cannot address those issues as part of a wider UK immigration system.

Those who want to travel to work in agriculture have other options apart from Scotland, and Scottish farmers have been in direct competition for available labour with French and German farmers for some time, as well as with farmers from across the rest of the UK. I was pleased to see that the Government have pledged to extend the pilot of the seasonal agricultural workers scheme to 10,000 workers a year, up from the current limit of 2,500—thanks to the lobbying and hard work of Scottish Conservative Members of Parliament, I might say. That is a step in the right direction, but I hope it is a signal of intent and the beginning of a direction of travel. I also hope it will be delivered in a timely fashion. It is critical that farmers have time to plan for next summer.