Devolved Powers (Immigration)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 26th September 2019.

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Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

The First Minister will have seen a new report from the David Hume Institute, which recommends that the Scottish Government should be given greater powers over immigration, irrespective of the outcome of Brexit. Does the First Minister agree that the United Kingdom Government should heed the advice of that report and devolve powers over immigration to the Scottish Parliament as a matter of urgency, so that we can tailor our immigration system to meet Scotland’s needs and aspirations?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I agree with that and I welcome the report from the David Hume Institute. I hope that this is one issue—perhaps the only issue—on which there can be unanimous support across the Parliament. Many members—I hope all members—understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to immigration and that Scotland has particular demographic challenges and needs, which makes it essential that we have the ability to tailor our immigration policy to suit our needs. I hope that all parties will come behind that call and that the UK Government will listen to that and devolve immigration powers to the Scottish Parliament as quickly as possible.

Of course, when Scotland becomes an independent country, immigration powers—and all other powers—will lie in the hands of the Scottish Parliament, where they will be far better used than they are currently by the Tory Government at Westminster.