The SNP have called on the new Home Secretary to recognise Scotland’s “unique” migration needs in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
External affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop has written to Sajid Javid, who was unveiled as the replacement for Amber Rudd yesterday, to request a meeting to discuss Scotland’s demographics and the country’s need to attract new residents.
Mr Javid said yesterday he was keen to create a fair and humane immigration policy that welcomed people who are in the UK legally.
The Home Office has come in for serious criticism from all parties following the revelation that the so-called Windrush generation were vulnerable to deportation, despite many of them having lived in the UK for decades.
It has prompted a wider debate on UK migration policy and the Home Office aim of creating a “hostile environment” for those living in the country illegally.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Ms Hyslop said Scotland was “particularly vulnerable to any reduction in inward migration because of our distinct demographics”.
She continued: “Across Scotland, as a whole population growth is projected to be driven entirely by migration with over a third of Scotland’s local authorities facing depopulation over the 25 years to 2039.
“The most recent population estimates from the National Records of Scotland showed a welcome increase in the numbers of people moving to Scotland from the rest of the UK but a worrying decrease in the number coming from overseas.
“The economic importance of migration to Scotland cannot be overestimated. Scottish Government analysis submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence on the role of EEA workers in the UK labour market found that the average EU citizen in Scotland adds £10,400 to government revenue and £34,400 to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year.”
Ms Hyslop added: “I note the commitment that you made yesterday to a fair and humane immigration policy that welcomes and celebrates people who are here legally, people who have come in the past or who are looking to come and who want to do the right thing and contribute to our country. As part of that, I look forward to an early meeting with you to discuss the opportunities and ways in which Scotland’s unique migration needs can be recognised – as set out in Scotland’s population needs and migration policy – alongside the ways in which the immigration white paper could properly reflect Scotland’s position and provide certainty and security to EU citizens, who have made their home here that has been denied to those of the Windrush generation.”