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Points-based system is against Scotland’s interests: SNP

SNP government to take up the issue with Westminster

Tags: Mike Russell, Phil Woolas, Thomas Legendre

14th September 2009: The SNP believes the new points-based system for people seeking citizenship is "against Scotland’s interests".
Available information indicates the SNP government is all set to take up the issue with Westminster.
It is believed that Secretary for external affairs Mike Russell has already demanded a meeting with the UK immigration minister Phil Woolas in an attempt to bring to the fore certain recent cases, including that of US playwright Thomas Legendre.
He faces the possibility of being sent out of Scotland, even though his two children were born and raised in Edinburgh, as he does not meet earnings criteria.
Scotland’s population projection is, as of now, improving from years of stagnation. The SNP has been pressing the case for devolution of a Scottish points-based system that awards eager, qualified immigrants, who want to come to Scotland for five years or longer.
Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has already asserted immigrants who choose to live and work in Scotland could earn British citizenship more readily.
Mr. Murphy said the Home Office was preparing a long-term change to the immigration rules.
Consultations were to be held on the proposal, but once in force, foreigners who choose to live and work in Scotland could earn British citizenship more readily.
The Scottish Secretary said there was a proposal to have a revised points-based system for earning British citizenship. One of the ways to earn these points would be to make a commitment to live and work in Scotland.
Factors taken into consideration for granting the points include skills, age and potential salary.
Mr. Murphy said they would carry on consultations on the new points-based route to citizenship. But as of now, he was glad to say living and working in Scotland was proposed as one way to earn points.
Going into the background of the proposal, Mr. Murphy also stressed on factors like an ageing population and the need to carry out recruitment in tourism and other such sectors, while referring to the demographic challenge facing Scotland.
In an article, Mr. Murphy wrote: "Our need for a growing population is ranked along with the need to recruit to shortage occupations."
The new "points-based" system would benefit applicants, if they set up home in parts of the country in need of increased population.
Describing it as a move in the right direction, SNP home affairs spokesperson at Westminster Pete Wishart only recently said powers over immigration should be handed to Scotland, just as they were in the Australia’s states. It would not only benefit Scotland, but also help lift some of the pressure on the UK Home Office.

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