"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Scotland’s future approach to migration

As next year’s referendum approaches and tensions between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps increase, the need for greater details on an independent Scotland’s policies is apparent.

One of the most hotly debated issues surrounding independence is immigration. Holyrood has for some time now been at odds with Westminster regards the latter’s seemingly relentless push to reduce net migration at whatever cost.

Caught up in this push are many cross-border families who are unable to meet the UK government’s stringent new family migration policies, which require the British sponsor to have an income of at least GBP 18,600 per annum to be able to bring a non-EEA spouse, child or adult dependant to the UK.

Such families will be among those keen to read further details of an independent Scottish government’s immigration policies, which are scheduled to be published in a November white paper on migration.

Early indications show homegrown Scottish immigration policies are likely to be more favourable to family migrants than Westminster’s current rules. Unlike Westminster, the Scottish National Party favours immigration.

Add to this Scotland has a low birthrate and a small population of just over five million, and it is easy to see why Scotland’s demographics have placed it at odds with Westminster’s goal to reduce net migration.

The rejection of the anti-immigrant message coming out of Westminster by the Scots, as seen in the unwelcoming reception UKIP leader Nigel Farage received when he traveled to Edinburgh earlier this year, can be seen as demonstrative of their acknowledgement of the need for migrants in Scotland. 

Encouraging are the recent words of spokesman for Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf in a letter to the Clark family after Turkish national Jilda Clark was refused entry to the UK on the grounds she failed to provide sufficient evidence she could meet the spouse visa language requirements – a decision which was later overturned.

The letter stated Yousaf shared, “… anxieties over the UK's current family migration rules". Senior Policy Adviser to the Scottish government Ruth Steele also wrote to the family, stating, "The Scottish government is very concerned that the UK government's restrictions on family migration are having a very damaging impact on many ordinary, hard-working UK citizens and their families”, as reported by the Herald Scotland.

Should we see an independent Scotland, it is hoped it will be defined by fair immigration policies which best suit Scotland’s unique needs and that those policies will be less shortsighted and more evidential-based than the current rules, which are tailored almost exclusively to meet the immigration goals of Westminster rather than Scotland.

1 comment:

  1. Another plus for an independant Scotland is that Scotland will very likely still be an EU member in it's own right, and therefore another option for the SS route.