UK visas for European citizens ‘vital for Scotland’

25 Sep 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The availability of UK visas for European citizens is important to the success of businesses in Scotland following Brexit, according to the SNP government’s Brexit minister Michael Russell.

Speaking after a meeting in London, Mr Russell suggested that the reduction in freedom of movement likely to occur between the UK and the EU following Brexit could have a significant impact on some of the largest industries in Scotland, including the investment sector.

According to Chris Cummings, CEO of the Investment Association, almost 25 per cent of the assets managed by British-based firms are controlled in Scotland, and are worth around £620 billion.

Commenting on the need for UK visas for EU citizens, Mr Cummings continued: “Scotland’s ability to continue accessing high skilled talent from around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world is vital for our industry to thrive.”

These thoughts have been echoed by Julia Onslow-Cole, a partner at PwC LLP, who suggested that Scotland is likely to face its own concerns with UK immigration when Britain separates from the EU, partly due to demographic issues, which could leave many businesses lacking in talent.

As a result of this perceived demand for overseas talent, Russell has suggested that the UK needs a tailored approach to UK immigration that will meet the demands of different parts of Britain following Brexit.

“Today’s meeting has been hugely beneficial to continue to hear directly from businesses what their concerns are around Brexit and how we can work together to minimise any negative effects on Scotland’s workforce,” Mr Russell stated. “We will reflect on what we’ve heard today as we develop policy options and continue to engage with the UK government on new powers.”