ENGLAND could demand passport controls at the Scottish border after independence if a future Edinburgh government were to operate a more liberal immigration policy, a report says today.
The paper, by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, concludes that there are “significant questions” over how immigration policy in Scotland will be run in the future, no matter what happens next year.
Under independence, the report concludes that if Scotland were to encourage greater non-EU immigration “there may be calls from the rest of the UK for Anglo-Scottish passport controls.”
In the case of a “no” vote, Scotland could pursue a Canadian model under which immigrants are allowed into the country, but are only able to work in one particular part of it. However, this, too, is dependent on co-operation with the rest of the UK.
The question of passport controls has been dismissed by the SNP, which says it would be in both sides’ interests to have an open border. At the same time, it says Scotland could have its own immigration policy “tailored” to meet Scottish circumstances.
But Dr Scott Blinder, of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “Scotland and the rest of the UK share a border, so any policies that are introduced by an independent Scotland have the potential to affect other parts of the UK, which may have ramifications for Scotland.”
The report says England has a much faster growing population with a considerably larger proportion of migrants than Scotland, and that Scotland’s population may not grow without immigration – unlike the rest of the UK.