Differentiated immigration policies for the UK

Reuters, 6 February:

Scotland depends on young migrants to expand its workforce and its population and should seek a tailor-made deal as part of Brexit to manage its own migration, a cross-party Scottish parliamentary committee said on Monday.

… [T]he committee said that Scotland’s population decline, a source of concern for decades, had been reversed in recent years by young migrants arriving from the EU and settling.

“The committee believes … that there are acute risks to Scotland of a loss of the existing EU migrants or a decline in future migration,” it said, citing evidence of the importance of EU migrants to a range of economic sectors.

“This leads us to conclude that there has to be a bespoke — or differentiated — solution for immigration policy in Scotland in the future (which) should be fully explored by the Scottish government and raised by it in its discussions with the UK and other devolved administrations.”

The Independent (1 March):

The UK economy is “sleepwalking into a disaster” unless the country adopts a nuanced regional immigration policy to fill the skills gap left by lower immigration after Brexit, a Parliamentary Committee was told on Tuesday.

Professor Robert Wright, Professor at the University of Strathclyde told committee members a Canadian system which allows different regions to independently identify required skills and set quotas for different professions would work in the UK.

Australia and Canada both have differentiated visa programmes to meet the economic and labour market needs of constituent states. For example, the British Columbia immigration programme “offers an economic immigration pathway for in demand foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs who can contribute economically to the province.” Western Australia even controls immigration at the regional level within the state: the ‘Nominated Regional visa’ requires holders to “live and work in a regional or low population growth metropolitan area,” and prohibits living or working in Perth, the capital city.


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