Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has set a net migration target of 24,000 should Scotland gain its independence from England in the referendum next month (September), the Telegraph has reported.
At the moment, the National Records for Scotland (NRS) show that net migration for the country stood at just 10,000 last year, putting Scotland in a very different position to England as it looks to more than double its net migration figures while the government is Westminster is working to reduce its figures.
At the moment the vast majority of immigrants to Scotland come from within the UK so to make up the numbers Salmond is aiming for the country will need to attract more people from the EU and overseas. There has been talk of the country setting lower business rates than England should it gain independence, which is one option that may help attract higher numbers of working immigrants.
It is specifically working immigrants that Salmond is looking to attract, claiming that more taxpaying workers are required in order to maintain the affordability of the state pension. Oppositions have, however, stated that Salmond will be unable to significantly increase its migration figures without adoption a completely separate immigration policy to that of the UK, which would lead to further difficulties regarding border controls and labour laws with England.
It remains to be seen whether or not Scotland will vote ‘yes’ next month, but immigration will certainly be an area of particular interest should the country decide to go it alone.