Publication - Strategy/plan

Migration: helping Scotland prosper

Published: 27 Jan 2020

Paper detailing how a tailored migration policy, within a UK framework, could operate to meet Scotland's distinct needs.

Migration: helping Scotland prosper
Summary of key proposals

Summary of key proposals

Vision, Values And Principles

  • Scottish Government will consult on values to inform a Scottish approach to migration policy, if agreement reached on need for a tailored policy.

A Tailored Approach For Scotland

  • Responsibility for migration should be devolved to Scotland, as part of a UK framework, to allow new routes to be created for migration to Scotland.
  • Scottish Government will consult on delivery models for a Scottish Visa, if agreement reached on need for a tailored policy.

A Place-Based Route For Migration To Rural Areas

  • Scottish Government and UK Government should work together to design, develop and evaluate pilot schemes to encourage migration to rural areas.
  • The Scottish Government will commission the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population to consider what a pilot approach to migration in remote areas would need to achieve in order to benefit Scotland’s rural and island communities.

Key Features Of A Scottish Visa

  • Eligibility criteria set according to needs identified in Scotland, clear rules leading to greater certainty
  • Scottish Ministers accountable to Scottish Parliament for policy and decisions
  • Migrants holding Scottish Visa required to live in Scotland
  • An additional option alongside all other UK visas
  • No sponsorship role for employers in this route – so no sponsor licencing costs or bureaucracy
  • Not liable to Immigration Skills Charge, as currently defined by UK Government
  • No salary threshold in this route
  • Online application process
  • Offers pathway to permanent settlement in Scotland

Influencing Change In The UK System

  • Targets to bring down migration to the UK should be ended.
  • Fees and charges for UK immigration, settlement and citizenship applications should be reduced.
  • All existing routes in the UK immigration system should be reviewed and simplified, removing financial and administrative burdens on applicants and sponsors.
  • A new points-based system for the UK should follow international examples and include regional or devolved schemes.
  • Family migration should be significantly reviewed, looking at definition of family members, costs, and children born here.
  • The Scottish Government will commission the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population to look more closely at the impact that current family migration rules have on families in Scotland.
  • The employer-sponsored visa should have a lower salary threshold.
  • The proposed transitional 12-month visa should be extended to 24 months and made a permanent option for EU citizens after the UK leaves the EU.
  • Arrangements for working visitors should be extended to six months, and a broader range of activities should be allowed.
  • Youth mobility schemes to the UK should be extended for a year if young people live in Scotland during that time.