Expert report proposes new measures.
Migrant families to Scotland could be better supported by series of changes to UK Government immigration rules, an independent expert group has said.
The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Migration and Population has set out 10 proposals to encourage and support families moving to Scotland.
The EAG report suggests bespoke schemes to enable families to migrate to remote and rural areas, removing the minimum income requirement on immigrants to help family reunions, and more support for families to find suitable work.
Migrant families often experience protracted periods of separation from each other, struggle to navigate childcare and schooling systems, and need support in forging support and friendships in their community, the report adds.
Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Angus Robertson said:
“I welcome this insightful and useful report, which proposes actions that should be taken at UK, Scotland and local authority level, and we will look to take these forward as we develop our Migration Service for Scotland.
“Families play a crucial role in migration, and we need to take into account the welfare of the family of migrants as a whole. It is clear that the presence of partners, children and parents makes a huge difference to how migrants fare in their new home.
“The Scottish Government’s population strategy aims to increase net migration to Scotland, and to encourage settlement, especially in areas facing depopulation – this goal has become more urgent given the continued decline in migration to Scotland from EU countries following Brexit and the end of free movement.
“While in the short term we are keen to work with local authorities and the UK Government on this and other population and migration issues, it is clear that Scotland needs its own, tailored and distinctive immigration system that works for our needs.”
The Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population report on family migration has been published online.
Its recommendations include:
- Enabling family migration to remote and rural areas through bespoke schemes, drawing on good practice from Canada
- Removing the minimum income requirement
- Providing better information for family members pre-arrival, so that they can start identifying potential employment, childcare or schools and accommodation
- Supporting family members to find suitable work
- Helping access to childcare, through providing better information, support networks, and ensuring migrant families access early Education and Childhood support
- Establishing advice hubs, providing a range of services and support to migrants, including tailored integration plans
- Promoting community and migrant peer networks, building on good practice with English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) networks
- Helping find suitable accommodation
- Reducing the costs of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and citizenship
- Joining up good practice, in order to link up and expand successful initiatives
The independent Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population was established in October 2018.
The purpose is to provide independent expert analysis and advice to Scottish Government ministers on migration and population.
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