This paper sets out the Scottish Government’s response to the call for evidence launched by the UK Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the European Union and on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.
It sets out the overwhelmingly positive contribution that migration, including from other EU countries, has made to Scotland’s economy and society, and ensuring that Scotland remains a diverse and outward-looking country that is open to the world.
EU migration to Scotland is essential for ensuring sustainable population growth, which is the single biggest driver of our economic growth. All of the
projected increase in Scotland’s population over the next 10 years is projected to come from migration. EU migration also supports Scotland’s economy, ensuring the availability of a pool of
labour, both now and in the future, to meet the needs of employers and businesses right across the Scottish economy and across all sectors, including those as diverse as agriculture and fisheries, tourism and culture, healthcare and education. EU migration supports rural communities and jobs, bringing rural industries and supporting public services including healthcare and schools.
The Scottish Government continues to believe that maintaining free movement of persons, as part of the single market, is in the best interests of the United Kingdom as a whole and of Scotland. The evidence that we provide, drawn from across the
Scottish economy, supports this view.
With regards to migration from outside the EU, we
welcome the recognition by the MAC of the potential for regional variations in the migration system and note their view that this requires
further analysis. The Scottish Government believes that a regional immigration model is not only workable, but essential to meet Scotland’s needs.