EU immigration policy for Scotland
A different EU immigration policy for Scotland would not result in a hard border with the rest of the UK, the chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce has said.
Liz Cameron said the business community is pressing the case for a separate deal on immigration which would allow freedom of movement to continue north of the border following Brexit.
She said the group has already held discussions with London’s deputy mayor to consider whether a joint plea can be made to the UK Government on the issue.
London and Scotland are both reliant on EU workers, Ms Cameron told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.
On a separate deal on immigration, she said: “I have heard that it is not practical and too complicated. We don’t accept that.
“I believe that there could be put in place an effective and efficient process, and management of that which would not necessitate putting in border controls between Scotland and the rest of the country.”
Control of immigration is one of the key demands contained in the Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals.
The SNP administration also wants Scotland to remain in the European single market through membership of the European Economic Area.
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed disappointment with progress in talks with UK ministers.
Commenting on the UK Government’s response to calls for a separate immigration deal, Ms Cameron said: “In meetings they say they are listening, we measure that listening in terms of what actions they are going to put in place.
“We’ve not seen that yet, but we will continue to press the case very strongly for the Scottish business community.”
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “The Tories’ rhetoric on the prospect of a hard border and the claim that a separate deal on freedom of movement for Scotland isn’t feasible is just not washing with anybody anymore.
“The SNP Government will continue to call for tailored immigration powers to match Scotland’s demographic needs – because it will be our businesses, universities and research facilities that miss out on talent, and our economy that falls behind.”