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Migration and Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:39 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 6:39 pm, 11th February 2020

No, there is no time.

The UK Government said they wanted a system that would work for all parts of the UK, but when the Scottish Government came forward with their proposal, they refused it without even reading it.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy highlighted shortages in other parts of the UK, including the north of England. In October, the Home Secretary said that the Government wanted to add extra points to a points-based system to attract people to the north of England and coastal areas, so why have they refused to consider a very similar system for Scotland? At UK level there is simply no visa that is aimed at settlement—at providing security at an early stage, so that people will come and make their homes and their lives here. A points- based system would be based on migrant characteristics, not just on someone’s having a job. Canada and Australia are often cited, but the provincial nominee programme allows the province to set the criteria and assess the applicants. If an application is successful, it is the central Government who actually issue the visa.

This is a very modest request. It is supported by civic Scotland, including the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Federation of Small Businesses. Our proposed system is based on residence, as the Scottish tax code already is. However, this modest proposal simply was not considered. Members say that they have read it, but they read it after it was refused.

Let me just gently say that it is not possible to keep a relationship or marriage together by force. It must be done through respect, and through recognition and consideration of someone’s needs. Failure to do that simply ends in divorce. Immigration is existential for Scotland, and the failure to recognise that means that people in Scotland, and businesses in Scotland, will see that there is only one way for us to get the policies that we need.