Scotland will not be given devolved powers to decide on its own levels of migration, the Government has announced.
The Government in Westminster has turned down a request that the country be able to issue its own UK visas to allow students studying north of the border to remain in Scotland to work after graduation. Scotland had been hoping to reintroduce the post-study work scheme, which was abolished by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary as part of efforts to reduce the net migration figure.
The Scottish Affairs Committee issued a report recommending that the country be devolved its own ‘sub-national migration powers’. However, the UK Government said in its response that the immigration system has been designed for the whole of the UK and takes into account the needs of Scotland.
According to research by the Committee, Scotland’s population is growing more slowly than other parts of the UK and it has an ageing population. It also has lower levels of migration than other parts of the UK.
Committee chair, Pete Wishart, told The Scotsman: “We are disappointed that the UK Government continues to refuse to explore innovative solutions to the demographic issues Scotland is facing.
“Last week, the All Party Group on Social Integration became the latest in a long list of people who have examined the evidence and realised the benefits of greater flexibility in immigration policy for Scotland.”
He said that Scotland faced specific population issues that other parts of the UK did not and that the UK Government should allow these to be tackled with an immigration policy suitable for Scotland.
He added: “Throughout the inquiry many witnesses expressed support for sub-national migration powers for Scotland and for current visa arrangements to be reviewed.”