Scottish firms want UK migration system but care sector raises fears

A proposal to impose a £30,000-a-year minimum salary on EU workers in the UK has been branded “bizarre” by Scotland’s social care industry, which warned jobs would go unfilled if the plan was implemented after Brexit.

Donald Macaskill, the chief executive of Scottish Care, said Scotland has different needs because wages are often lower. However, fellow business leaders told MPs they prefer a single UK-wide immigration system, in a blow to SNP calls for powers over migration to be devolved.

Appearing before the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee, Dr Macaskill told MPs: “We find the £30,000 salary setting absolutely bizarre, nobody in social care falls into that category. The average social care salary in Scotland is £18,000.”

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But Gregor Scotland, chief policy adviser at CBI Scotland, told MPs businesses were focused “on the practicalities of this, not about the politics, not about the wider constitutional issues.”

There have been calls for immigration policy to be devolved to Scotland to meet business demands for EU workers. Picture: TSPL

However, Mr Scotland said there should be an assessment of devolution if a one-year UK consultation does not produce a system businesses support.

Pete Wishart, the committee’s SNP chairman, said migration rules had “the capacity to make or break many Scottish businesses, higher education institutions and the care sector... It is clear there is no ‘one-size fits all’ answer.”