Scotland's economy: plan to keep EU workers in Scotland revealed

Academics have released a detailed plan for Scotland that could keep EU workers in the country.

The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier apeaks alongside the UK's Brexit minister David Davis at exit talks yesterday. Picture; Getty

Plans released showed that Scotland could set lower barriers for low-skilled immigrants than the rest of the UK after Brexit.

The report from the University of Edinburgh offered a “politically viable” way of sustaining the net inflows of EU workers currently propping up key industries in the country according to researchers.

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It is understood the Scottish Government welcomed the report describing the UK-wide approach to immigration as “damaging to Scotland’s economy”.

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Under current immigration restrictions, some believe that the UK wide targets will cripple Scottish businesses and lead to a worker shortage.

Research led by Professor Christina Boswell will be published today discussing the importance of the economnic need for more migrants in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

According to the proposal, Tier 2 working visas, which will be issued for EU nationals post-Brexit could have their skill level requirements amended to allow EU residents to take up jobs in Scotland.

The report, which was released in The Herald, comes after David Davis was reportedly accused of agreeing to the timetable for Brexit set by Brussels.

The UK government were understood to be keen to discuss trade almost immediately as well as the divorce bill from the EU, however, the rights of EU workers and border issues will now be the first part of discussions.

Speaking to the Herald, Professor Boswell stated that Scottish immigration is ‘U-shaped’ and that different criteria could apply to both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

She said: “There are a number of promising channels for meeting Scotland’s needs, which do not require a radical overhaul of current arrangents.

“The challenges in releasing them reflect the heat of debate on immigration more than the practical difficulties of implimenteing them.”

It is understood that the proposals would suggest setting up a body exclusively to Scotland similar to the UK Migration Advisory Committee which would give the Scottish Government more flexibility on immigration.

Currently, 90% of projected population growth in Scotland is based on current levels on net migration. EU nationals make up 43% of Scotland’s foreign born population.