Scotland is an open, outward-looking and welcoming country. We recognise and highly value the remarkable contributions that people from around the world make, and have previously made, to Scotland.
We are clear that inward migration brings huge benefits to Scotland, including critical contributions to our economy, helping to deliver public services and enriching our communities.
Our previous responses to the Migration Advisory Committee set out evidence which makes this clear. In October 2017 we published the evidence previously submitted to the committee, which outlined the positive impact of EEA migration on Scotland’s economy, public services and communities. The Migration Advisory Committee’s subsequent report in September 2018 similarly evidenced the strong economic and financial contribution of EEA migration across the UK as a whole, not just Scotland.
Furthermore, in March this year we published our response to the Committee on the review of the Shortage Occupation Lists; which again set out the vital contributions and impact that people make from both other EU countries and from outwith the EU, particularly in relation to a number of sectors of the Scottish economy.
Scotland has a long history of welcoming people from overseas, who come to visit, live, work, study and invest, and build their lives here with their families. We want this to continue.
Our discussion paper published in February 2018 on Scotland’s Population Needs and Migration Policy details our contribution to this critical discussion. It evidences how we have distinct needs in Scotland in relation to our population and our demographic sustainability, the skills and positive economic impact people who come to Scotland have, as well as the cultural and community benefits that migration can play an important role in supporting. We will expand on this early in 2020, with another paper and further analysis.
The Scottish Government believes fundamentally that continuing free movement of people is in the best interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole. We do not believe that a restrictive model which limits migration even further than current UK policy is in Scotland’s interests, as this document evidences.
Instead, we need a more responsive and flexible immigration system with a tailored approach to policy for Scotland. This paper provides further evidence to support development of such a system.
Ben Macpherson MSP
Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development