Rural visa pilot proposal: September 2022

A pilot proposal document, developed by Scottish Government in collaboration with local authorities and business sector organisations, about a targeted migration solution for remote and rural areas of Scotland, to meet the discrete and specific needs of these communities and their local economies.

4. Stakeholder engagement in Scotland

4.1 Working group

The Scottish Government has worked collaboratively throughout the development of this proposal, engaging with representatives from both local authorities and key industry and business sector partners. As set out in a letter in January from Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, to Kevin Foster MP, UK Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Scottish Government officials convened a short life working group during Spring and Summer 2022. This proposal was developed iteratively over the course of these working group meetings, with members afforded the opportunity to feed in both verbally and in writing, to ensure the design of the pilot proposal was shaped as much as possible by their views. In doing so, the Scottish Government has sought to ensure that the needs of the most affected communities are able to be best met within this proposal.

The organisations who have participated in the development of this proposal document are as follows:

Working group membership

Local authorities

Argyll & Bute

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Dumfries & Galloway

East Ayrshire

Scottish Islands Federation

Scottish Rural Action


North Ayrshire


Perth & Kinross

Scottish Borders


Other partners

Angus Growers

Grampian Growers

National Farmers Union Scotland

Scotland Food & Drink

East Lothian


Seafood Scotland

Highlands and Islands enterprise

South of Scotland enterprise

4.2 Policy lessons

The views of the working group focussed on the need for a place-based approach to migration issues, and the opportunity to give a greater degree of decision-making to local communities, who understand their own needs best. Every rural area, every island community – whether it be in Scotland or in the rest of the UK – is different, and evidence from international schemes being delivered suggests that place-based approaches which build in local agency can be effective in supporting local areas, whilst also being secure and subject to clear controls.



Back to top