Brexit: Stark warning as Scotland faces labour shortage after leaving EU

A shortage of skilled workers across Scotland could worsen after Brexit, it has been suggested.

The Scottish Government has submitted evidence to Westminster’s migration advisory committee (MAC) to highlight the country’s recruitment needs ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Scotland’s migration minister Ben Macpherson said the submission illustrated the challenges in retaining and recruiting staff.

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The UK’s Immigration White Paper has been a point of contention since its publication in December, with opponents criticising the decision to impose a minimum salary threshold of £30,000.

Ben MacPherson MSP. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Ben MacPherson MSP. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

In Scotland, the average wage is significantly lower – estimated to be around £18,000 – raising concerns that it could cause a decrease in the flow of workers from EU and EEA countries.

Mr Macpherson said a ‘Shortage Occupation List’ for Scotland, compiled by the UK Government on the advice of the MAC and which details jobs currently lacking sufficiently trained professionals in the labour market, should also be adjusted to better fit the country’s needs. This includes a more specific role for the Scottish Government in determining the list.