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.

7. Baseline ask: Upcoming SOL review

Scottish Ministers are aware of the review of the UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL), to be carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee later in 2022. While we also welcome the establishment of a Devolved Nations team within the MAC Secretariat to engage with stakeholders about distinct migration challenges faced across the UK, given that the MAC has already identified the challenge and a potential solution we are committed to focusing on developing and delivering that solution. As part of the SOL review, we also look forward to inputting with regards to the distinct needs faced by Scotland’s communities, including those in remote and rural areas.

Whilst the principal focus of this proposal rests on Scottish Ministers’ call for a pilot focused on delivering the SRCIP, the Scottish Government remains open and flexible in regard to delivering additional migration solutions which can improve and maximise outcomes for remote and rural communities. The Scottish Government notes the opportunity, with the upcoming review of the SOL led by the MAC, to make adjustments to better meet the needs of remote and rural areas in Scotland. The Expert Advisory Group’s report set out a variety of ways in which adjustments for remote and rural communities could be delivered through changes to the SOL and the Skilled Worker Route. It could include establishing a specific Remote and Rural SOL – with a range of relaxations of certain entry criteria – such as salary, along with adding additional points based criteria for jobs in specific designated geographies. This would require only modest adjustments to current UK immigration rules – which may be operationally quicker to implement.

Though such changes would be unlikely to enable communities to tailor their approach to migration based upon local need, it would likely make a difference in enabling employers in select areas to recruit a greater number of workers across a wider spectrum of skills, salaries and occupations.



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