Independent Scotland would need to boost immigration

01 Sep 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Scotland is set to seek more migrants than are currently entering the country if it votes to become independent from the UK.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who is leading the campaign for a yes vote for independence, wants to increase Scotland’s net migration figure to 24,000 a year if it breaks away from the UK. The latest figures from National Records for Scotland (NRS) showed that net migration to Scotland currently stands at 10,000 annually.

The latest Scottish migration figures have fallen dramatically since their peak of 33,000 a year between 2004 and 2011, and just two years ago, Scotland recorded a net migration figure of 30,200.

An independent Scotland would be looking to attract immigrants as part of efforts to boost its economy, increase taxes going to its treasury and, pay for public costs such as state pensions.

A Scottish Government spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that “controlled migration” was necessary for an independent Scotland, which had different needs to other parts of the UK.

However, other politicians argue that Scotland’s attempts to attract additional immigrants may lead to the setting up of border controls between Scotland and England. They claim that Scotland would only be able to retain the current Common Travel Area with the rest of the UK if it had the same immigration policies.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: "This figure is well below what Alex Salmond says he’ll need for a separate Scotland’s economy to work.

"Quite how he’s going to treble the number without adopting an entirely different immigration policy is unclear. And of course, if he does alter that system in the event of separation, it would lead to the creation of border controls between Scotland and England."