Former First Minister calls for new immigration rules for Scotland

20 Jun 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration policy has entered the debate on Scottish independence.

Former Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, who is campaigning for a no vote in the referendum, said that Scotland should be able to set different rules on immigration to the rest of the UK without breaking away from it.

The Labour politician said there should be a flexibility that would allow Scotland to put its own regulations in place because a “one size fits all’ immigration policy does not work, the Daily Record reported.

He said: “It is possible for different parts of the UK to experiment with different kinds of policy, like the smoking ban, to prove they can work and then be transferred to other parts of the country. On welfare policy, on immigration rules and economic development, the UK Government should be able to embrace the potential of that.”

Mr McConnell said that when he was First Minister, he worked with politicians in London to encourage more talented people to move to Scotland for the benefit of the economy.

His views on immigration and migration to Scotland echo those of the Scottish National Party, which is campaigning for an independent Scotland. The SNP has already said it believes an independent Scotland does not need to put border controls in place if it chooses to have a different immigration policy to other parts of the UK.

Mr McConnell set out his views on immigration to Scotland in a book of essays where he discusses a number of political issues he believes the country should have more control over, even if it chooses to remain part of the UK.