The Scotsman

Immigratio­n not a ‘fix-all’ for population problems, says report

- By LAURA PATERSON newsdeskts@scotsman.com

Immigratio­n is not a "fixall" and politician­s should also focus on retaining and improving the skills of the existing population when developing immigratio­n policy, according to a report.

Former government adviser Heather Mccauley examined the experience­s of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US to find what Scotland can learn on immigratio­n.

The report, produced by think tank Reform Scotland with the Scottish Policy Foundation, states if current migration levels are maintained Scotland's working-age population is expected to stay relatively stable for the next 25 years, but if migration stops it would fall by 12 per cent.

Ms Mccauley, a former government adviser in New Zealand

and ex-civil servant for the Scottish Government, found immigratio­n programmes in the above countries have on balance been beneficial but the size of these benefits is often small.

She also addressed the Scottish Government's Scottish visa proposal, rejected by the UK Government, which would differ from the Uk-wide systembyno­tincluding­aemployer sponsorshi­p requiremen­t or a salary threshold.

She said this could be "risky" for Scotland unless it can confidentl­y identify other criteria which predict successful settlement, as the "internatio­nal experience is clear about the importance of employment for successful outcomes".

Ms Mccauley said regionally differenti­ated policies are "feasible" but the arguments are strongest for peripheral areas that would otherwise struggle.

The report states: "Clearly, there are particular sectors, occupation­s and salary levels where requiremen­ts and conditions are different to those in the UK as a whole (or the south-east in particular).

"This, however, argues for occupation­al or sector-specific policies rather than a lower bar for entry across the board."

It adds: "Any differenti­al policy for Scotland that provided ongoing settlement rights would have implicatio­ns for the wider UK, particular­ly if it involved a lower bar for entry.

"Concern about 'backdoor' entry, particular­ly against a backdrop of UK government­s wanting to demonstrat­e that they have 'control' of immigratio­n numbers, is likely to be a significan­t impediment to differenti­ation."

 ??  ?? 0 The report looked at other countries to find what Scotland can learn on immigratio­n
0 The report looked at other countries to find what Scotland can learn on immigratio­n

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