Tuesday 24 January 2017

Amber Rudd To Ruled Out Separate Immigration Policy For Scotland


Amber Rudd has ruled out the possibility of Scotland having its own post-Brexit immigration system.

The Home Secretary said introducing different rules “would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity” and cause problems for businesses.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard slammed the move as foolhardy and accused Ms Rudd of showing both arrogance and complacency.

There have been increasing calls in recent weeks for the Government to allow Scotland to set its own immigration targets as it looks to grow its economy after the UK’s divorce from the EU.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, and Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill have already ruled out the Scottish Government having separate powers over immigration.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Rudd said: “Immigration remains a reserved matter and we will consider the needs of the UK.

“Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity and cause difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff over the UK.”

Mr Sheppard, the SNP MP for Edinburgh East, condemned the stance taken by the Home Secretary as he said other countries operate regional immigration policies.

He said during Home Office questions: “That is a very disappointing response infused with both arrogance and complacency.

“There are many large countries such as Canada and Australia that have regional variations in their immigration and visa policies to take account of diverse and complicated local economic circumstances.

“Is it not foolhardy for this Government at this very early stage to rule out the prospect of doing that in the regions and nations of the United Kingdom?”

Meanwhile, fellow SNP MP John Nicolson (East Dunbartonshire) also pushed Ms Rudd to allow Holyrood to set its own targets. But the Home Secretary suggested the Scottish Government would be able to attract more immigrants if it improved its health and education services.

She said: “Immigrants will come to a place where they see an improving education system, an improving health system and perhaps the SNP should spend more time on applying itself to those important issues rather than constitutional ones.”

Ms Rudd said the Government’s immigration policy “works for the whole of the UK and that’s the one we will continue to support”.



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