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Boris Johnson shoots down cross-party campaign for Scotland’s own immigration system

It comes amid a stark poll by the cross-party anti-Brexit group eu+me which asked Scots whether they would support setting up their own immigration system, the first of their kind in the country. It revealed that 63.37 percent of Scots agreed on having the ability to make different choices to the rest of the UK.

Nearly a fifth (19.97 percent) disagreed, 12.92 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and 3.75 percent said they did not know, according to the poll.

But when removing the “don’t knows” and no preferences, 83 percent agreed while 17 percent disagreed.

The poll of 1,127 Scots people took place between June 9 and 16.

However, the Home Office quickly warned that immigration was a reserved matter for Westminster to manage and control.

It added: “We have been clear that the future immigration system must work for every nation, region and community in the UK.

“The Migration Advisory Committee has repeatedly advised that there is no economic justification for different immigration arrangements in different parts of the United Kingdom.”

But Fergus Mutch, eu+me director, said: “With just five months remaining until free movement comes to an end, there’s real trepidation about what comes next and how we replace a system which has helped all EU nations to grow and flourish in recent decades.

“We want European citizens to come here to live, work, study, enrich our communities and help our country prosper for many years to come.

READ MORE: Huge Holyrood row erupts over SNP’s plans for schools 

 

“With the power to set our own course on immigration, we can maintain alignment with the EU 27, keep the door open to the exchange of talent and expertise from Europe and, ultimately, make the process easier to be back in the EU before long.”

It comes after the Scottish Government’s independent expert advisory group on migration and population suggested immigration into Scotland could be halved by the proposed salary threshold and risk staff shortages in areas such as the care sector. 

It also slammed Home Office plans post-Brexit would require migrant workers to earn at least £25,600 a year to be able to work in the UK saying it would damage Scotland.

 

Ben Macpherson MSP, minister for Migration, said: “This independent report shows that UK immigration policy is still failing to address Scotland’s distinct demographic and economic needs.

“With just over six months until freedom of movement with the EU ends, and as we face the biggest economic crisis in decades, we urge the UK Government to pause and reconsider their plans.

“Ploughing on regardless would be deeply irresponsible and costly. It is time the UK Government fully consulted with the devolved administrations and industry bodies, and tailored their approach to develop a system which recognises and meets the distinct needs of all four nations.”

There was similar support for a Scottish immigration system from a UK-wide poll of 1,022 people on June 9 and 10, also undertaken by eu+me.

Nearly half (44 percent) of the UK survey respondents agreed on Scotland setting its own immigration policy with 29 percent disagreeing.

A quarter (24 percent) neither agreed nor disagreed while 3 percent did not know.



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