The Scottish Government has stepped up demands for control over immigration after new research found it will be vital to tackling a looming de-population timebomb in Scotland.
A report from the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population, commissioned by the Scottish Government, said immigration programmes were a 'swift and reliable’ way to increase the labour force.
It comes amid concerns about post-Brexit free movement curbs with the labour force in Scotland already expected to reduce by thousands over the next two decades.
“Older populations will require expanded social security, health and social care, implying both a higher fiscal burden and increased demand for goods and services," the report said.
“This will produce especially acute labour shortages in areas such as social and health care.”
It highlights immigration projects in Australia, Canada and Europe - including differentiated regional policies - tailored to address general depopulation, labour market shortages and geographical imbalances. The report also warns of a fall in Scotland’s working age population if immigration drops substantially alongside declining fertility.
Scottish Government migration minister Ben Macpherson said: “This independent report raises significant concerns about the distinct challenges Scotland faces.
"The impact of Brexit on immigration will only exacerbate these challenges, alongside a record fall in the birth rate and a growing ageing population.
“If left unchecked these changes will have a serious impact on communities across Scotland raising the risk of labour shortages in key sectors.
“These findings reinforce the case for the Scottish Government to be able to implement tailored migration policies that reflect Scotland’s needs, values and aspirations.
“This will enable Scotland to maintain its strong reputation as an open, welcoming and attractive place to live and work and a country that continues to value all skills to grow our businesses and support the delivery of public services.”