The following paper sets out the Scottish Government's response for Health and Social Care to the Migration Advisory Committee's 2018 call for evidence on Shortage Occupations. Health and social care functions are largely devolved in Scotland and our aspirations reflect the Scottish Government's commitment to ensure that the people of Scotland live healthy, active and happy lives. Since its inception, the NHS in Scotland has benefitted from inward migration and our health and social care services are enriched greatly by the skills, abilities and different perspectives that inward migration brings.
The evidence that we have provided in this paper acknowledges the diversity of skills within our health and social care system and promotes a flexible and responsive approach to immigration. This includes recommending that specific provision is made within the UK-wide and Scotland Only Shortage Occupations Lists to meet the unique demands for health service delivery in remote and rural parts of Scotland. To inform the review we have collated evidence from across the Scottish Government with the support of NHS Scotland Health Boards, Care Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council.
This review of the Shortage Occupations Lists takes place at a time of particular uncertainty. Withdrawal from the European Union will have a profound effect on the delivery of health and social care services, not least through the turbulence that it causes our international staff. It is apparent how much of our health and social care system has benefitted from intra-EU migration. Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals across Scotland have shared concerns with me about the pressures that Brexit is already placing upon the NHS.
It is important that the UK Government acknowledges the wider anticipated impacts of proposed changes to immigration policy that flow from our withdrawal from the EU. The policy approach proposed within the UK Government's Immigration White Paper will have significant negative impacts on our ability to attract vitally important skilled health and social care professionals who provide frontline care.
The Migration Advisory Committee have indicated that they intend to continue gathering evidence from stakeholders and we would strongly urge the UK Government to revisit the significant shortcomings of their proposed policy approach. It is imperative that that our immigration system is responsive to the needs of Scotland's health and social care services and that we continue to be able to attract some of the brightest and best healthcare professionals from around the world.
I want to reassure staff that Scotland is an outward facing country, and we are proud of the diversity within our health and social care system. We will continue to welcome the talented individuals who want to come to live, work and build their lives in Scotland.
Jeane Freeman – Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport