Scotland can run its own immigration system

Scotland could overcome the practical barriers to setting up its own immigration system, but the benefits would be uncertain, a report has found.

Joseph Stiglitz says some immigration powers should be devolved. Picture: Getty

The paper from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said claims that separate migration regimes within the UK would drive up illegal immigration was a “weak” argument against devolving the necessary powers to Scotland and other parts of the country.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

However, one of the authors of the report said businesses would be fearful of a complicated set of rules that changed from one part of the country to another.

“It can be done - but it is not clear whether there would be enormous economic benefits from doing it,” said Madeleine Sumption, the director of the Migration Observatory.

Nobel economics laureate and Scottish Government adviser Joseph Stiglitz said this week that immigration powers should be devolved to Scotland, boosting a campaign by the SNP and some Labour MPs.