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Migration Advisory Committee

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

3. To ask the Scottish Government when it last met the Migration Advisory Committee. (S5O-03901)

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

I met the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee in November 2018. Scottish Government officials most recently met the MAC on 25 September. The Scottish Government submitted a formal response last month to the MAC’s call for evidence on salary thresholds in the UK immigration system and on the dynamics of a points-based immigration system.

In our engagement with the MAC, the Scottish Government has consistently argued for a fairer, more flexible and tailored approach to migration policy to deliver the solutions that Scotland needs.

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

The next time the minister meets the Migration Advisory Com9mittee, could he impress on it that, despite the Prime Minister’s comments that European Union migrants have been

“able to treat the UK as if it’s ... part of their own country” for too long, migrants—including many people in my family—have rightly treated Scotland as their own country, and that they have worked, employed people, raised families, participated in their communities and made a contribution? They have, in fact, contributed more to this society than they have ever taken.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

I share Linda Fabiani’s sentiments in condemning the Prime Minister’s remarks, and I support her important words about the net contribution of EU migrants not only to our economy and our public services, but in terms of the wider enrichment of our society.

Scotland is a welcoming and open nation, and we want it to remain so. As Linda Fabiani is, the Scottish Government is grateful to citizens from elsewhere in the European Union who have made Scotland their home and have contributed so much to our public services, our economy and our communities. Through our stay in Scotland campaign, we are sending a clear and welcoming message to EU citizens, and we are providing them with the information and practical support that they need. In my discussions in the coming months with any new UK Government, whether with the Migration Advisory Committee or new ministers, I will reiterate the points that Linda Fabiani rightly raised.

Photo of Claire Baker Claire Baker Labour

Can the minister give an update on the number of people in Scotland who are applying for settled status? Towards the closing date, we could have the anticipated rush, so can he give assurances that there will be sufficient resources for support services?

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The number of applications for the EU settlement scheme continues to rise. As we anticipated, there was a significant uplift in October this year, before the Brexit deadline. We continue to invest in our support services through the Citizens Advice Scotland network of bureaux, where individuals who would like support and, crucially, advice on the EU settlement scheme can get it face-to-face, over the phone or online. Compared to what is being offered elsewhere in the UK, that is significantly enhanced provision.

We are also investing £250,000 in support groups—including the Fife Migrants Forum—in communities in Scotland, in order to reach EU citizens who are more vulnerable and more difficult to reach through mainstream communication platforms. We are glad to work across Scotland to support EU citizens in our communities who contribute so much. We want them to stay, and we deeply value their contributions.