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Brexit (Migration Policy)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what involvement it currently has with the United Kingdom Government’s Migration Advisory Committee in relation to advice on migration policy post Brexit. (S5O-02623)

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has made it clear to the UK Government and the Migration Advisory Committee that Scotland’s needs in relation to migration policy are distinct and significant. The Scottish Government also provided a detailed response to each of the MAC’s calls for evidence, but that evidence has largely been ignored.

We have highlighted to the UK Government that the MAC’s recommendations in its reports are disappointing to employers, local authorities, third sector organisations and universities across Scotland. The Scottish Government has met and heard evidence from a range of stakeholders to discuss the impact of the MAC’s recommendations and to hear their concerns. The Scottish Government shares those concerns, and we are committed to listening to and promoting the interests of individuals and organisations across Scotland. I have personally met Professor Alan Manning, the chair of the MAC, and the UK immigration minister to discuss Scotland’s needs, and I have reiterated our concerns in relation to the MAC’s recommendations.

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

I am pleased that the minister mentioned Professor Manning, the chair of the Migration Advisory Committee. Is he aware that, when Professor Manning gave evidence to a committee of this Parliament earlier this month, he admitted that no specific modelling regarding the situation in Scotland in relation to migration had ever been done? There is now a consultation on the shortage occupation list, in which Scotland has very specific interests. What strong and firm representations are being made with regard to those interests?

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

Linda Fabiani is right to say that the MAC report took little cognisance of Scotland, with only page 123 and a little bit of page 124 being allocated to it.

The member is also right to ask about our engagement with the MAC and, indeed, the UK Government on the shortage occupation list. In August—and again this week, when I met her for a second time—the UK Minister for Immigration gave me an undertaking that Scottish interests and Scottish Government input with regard to the shortage occupation list would be respected and constructively considered. The Scottish Government will, of course, respond robustly to the MAC’s call for evidence in its consultation on the Scottish shortage occupation list.