`Situation in Scotland different, flexible approach to immigration needed’

Tough immigration cap to hamper economic recovery: Scottish Govt, businesses

6th December 2010: Already in line of fire for stringent measures to cap immigration, the government has been jointly warned by the Scottish Government and leading businesses that the tough new cap will hamper economic recovery.

In fact, a joint communication has been sent to UK Immigration Minister Damian Green, seeking nod for Scotland to vary the level of immigration to meet its needs.

The letter by external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop categorically says the financial services business sectors will be among those taking a hit, if the caps are introduced next April.

The letter has been signed by Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors in Scotland, Federation of Small Businesses, Universities Scotland, NHS Scotland, Cosla, STUC and Scottish Social Services Council.

The letter states a limit on net non-European economic area migration to bring it to the level of ‘tens of thousands a year’ is likely to impede Scotland’s economic recovery and distort that labour market.

It adds they are responding to concerns from Scottish businesses, employers, universities and the NHS about the UK government’s proposed annual limit and its potential to cause great harm to the Scottish economy.

The letter says they have been told temporary cap was already making it difficult to recruit and retain the world-class talent so essential to their economy’s success.

The situation here in Scotland was very different to other parts of the UK and that was why they needed a flexible approach to immigration."

Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish Policy Convener Andy Willox said any move to restrict Britain’s access to the sharpest minds and greatest talents were going to make businesses nervous.

The business community needed to be free to employ the best people for the job to drive growth in the economy.

Scotland has particular labour market challenges and, if a cap on non-EEA migration must be set, there has to be enough flexibility in the system to take our particular circumstances into account.

International Migrants Rights Conference on 9 December 2010

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