Scottish immigration is currently managed in accordance with the UK’s points-based system. This means that the same visa categories, rules and regulations that apply for England are also currently applicable to Scotland. This however may be set to change.
In late 2009 the UK government announced a list of new powers it wants to transfer from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, with immigration featuring among the powers the UK Government has proposed to decentralise.
In a whitepaper published by the Scottish Government entitled “Your Scotland, Your Voice”, the Government set out the options for Scotland’s constitutional reform. In the whitepaper the Commission on Scottish Devolution proposed their view that Scotland should retain the current reservation of immigration, and also suggested that active consideration be given to agreeing variations to the UK’s visa rules and regulations.
Meanwhile those in support of an independent Scotland put forward the view that Scotland should have responsibility for its own migration policy and its own borders – thus better enabling Scotland to tailor its immigration policy to better address the particular skills, demographic needs, and skilled labour shortages in Scotland.
From the whitepaper it is clear that independence for Scotland is the favoured option, however in the meantime Scottish immigration will continue to operate under the same rules as the rest of the UK, with any changes that may result from the plans for devolution of powers from Westminster to Scottish Parliament unlikely to be seen until after the next UK election.