Commenting on the publication of the citizenship points plan by the Home Office today (Monday) SNP Home Affairs spokesperson Pete Wishart MP said it was a move in the right direction but repeated calls for powers over immigration to be devolved to Scotland just as they are in Australia ’s states.
Mr Wishart said:
“The Home Office must demonstrate that the new points based immigration system is fit for Scottish purpose.
“ Scotland ’s population and immigration requirements are completely different from the rest of the UK , and this has to be recognised when points are added up.
“Even the Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy now recognises that Scotland should be favoured in points base and that skilled migrant workers should be awarded extra entry credits if they opt to move to Scotland as opposed to England .
“Such a system is already working successfully in Australia , where different State Governments can grant visas to live and work in that state alone. UK Ministers have adopted the Australian system, but without the key flexibility component that would allow Scotland to tailor its immigration requirements. Devolving control of immigration policy would not only benefit Scotland , it would help lift some of the pressure on the Home Office.
“If the Westminster Government is unable or unwilling to address this, then the Scottish Parliament must be given the powers to take the initiative. Scotland really needs the power to administer its own immigration service and determine a policy that meets our own specific requirements.”