SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has said recent Tory plans to curb migration will be “disastrous” for businesses and public services in the Western Isles.
This week, the Tory government at Westminster announced stricter regulations on people from outside the UK coming to work in Scotland - including a minimum salary requirement of £38,700, and a ban on care workers bringing family to the country.
The islands’ MSP has said that these new measures from the Tory UK government are a stark contrast to the SNP Scottish Government’s vision for an inclusive and fair migration policy; one that understands the importance of migration in safeguarding the future of Scotland’s public services, strengthening our economy, and enriching our culture.
Commenting, Allan said:
“Scotland has an aging population, something which is more acutely felt already in the Western Isles. Our essential public services and local businesses rely on sustaining a strong, skilled workforce. Brexit had a devastating impact on the ability of our European neighbours to move to and contribute to our communities - we need to be encouraging more people to move to Scotland, not putting up barriers in their way.
“Despite the Scottish Government’s work on a Rural Visa pilot scheme, the UK Government will not engage with the needs of areas like the Western Isles – it seems the Tories are determined to push down immigration figures at all cost, even at the expense of our rural and island communities’ futures.
“These newly announced measures from the Tory government demonstrate its complete ignorance of the needs of communities like the Western Isles and, of course, the hugely valuable contribution of migrants to our society as a whole.
“The SNP Scottish Government has been clear in its open position on immigration, as outlined in their Building a New Scotland Paper, which stress the vital importance of a humane and principled migration policy after independence – which is incomparable with the hostile environment of this Tory Britain. It is only with independence can Scotland continue to attract workers from overseas with a welcoming and forward-thinking immigration policy that ensures Scotland’s public services and economy stay strong for generations to come.”