The SNP has called on the UK Government to scrap its “nonsensical” net migration targets, echoing recommendations in a report published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The party’s Westminster immigration spokesman, Stuart McDonald MP, said the findings showed there was a desire amongst the business community for reform of the UK’s non-EU immigration system so that firms could better access people and skills from around the world and not just the EU.
The report - Open and Controlled: A New Approach to Migration - took evidence from 129,000 firms across 18 industry sector.
It concluded the UK Government should “build public trust in the UK’s migration system by shifting away from controlling numbers.”
Mr McDonald said: “The SNP has consistently called for an end to the Prime Minister’s hostile environment policy, and for a shift to an evidence-based immigration policy which supports our economy in a challenging post-Brexit environment.
“The SNP position is that there must be a root-and-branch review of immigration policy and that review should be based on facts - not on the ideological interests of the Tory party.
“The UK Government has repeatedly promised an immigration white paper - and an immigration bill - over the past year, yet it has shamefully failed to deliver, with only a matter of months left before the UK leaves the EU.”
The MP for Glasgow South continued: “The Scottish Government has set out the case for Scotland to have the power to tailor its own immigration policy to reflect its unique demographic needs.
“It’s high time the UK Government ended its narrow-minded approach, and instead worked with the devolved governments in order to protect our economy, the business community and hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
The UK Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is due to publish its final report on the impact of Brexit on migration to Briain next month.
Its interim report, published in March, focused on migration from the European Economic Area (EEA). The report’s authors suggested Scotland did not have more need of migrants to stem population decline than Wales or the north-east of England.
“Office for National Statistics projections suggest that if EU net migration was zero, the population in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would stop growing and even fall in the next 20 years,” it noted.
“Though the population of England would continue to grow, some northern regions of England have similar projections to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Demography does not respect administrative and political borders.”