Sturgeon calls for meeting with PM over immigration plans

Nicola Sturgeon told the PM that the governments immigration policy has 'caused concern' for many Scots.

The First Minister has called for a meeting with Boris Johnson on immigration policy following reform proposals from Westminster.

This week, the UK Government announced proposals for the new points based immigration system, which were condemned by the Scottish Government.

In a letter to Number 10 published on Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon said the new system will hit the Scottish economy hardest, particularly on social care – where 90% of roles in the sectors would not meet the minimum salary requirements to be filled by migrants.

Sturgeon called on the Prime Minister to meet with her and leading Scottish business figures in Downing Street to discuss Scotland’s immigration needs.

The Scottish Government published proposals for a bespoke Scottish visa system last month, which were rejected by Downing Street within hours.

The First Minister wrote: “The immigration policy announced by your government this week has caused concern in many sectors across Scotland’s economy.

“More than half of all roles in Scotland would not meet the salary threshold you have set, rising to as many as 90% in our vital social care sector.

“Many other sectors of the economy are clear that the plan to end free movement and introduce this new system in its place has not been designed with the interests of Scotland in mind.”

She added: “An immigration system which truly delivers for the whole of the UK also needs to deliver for Scotland.

“My government has been in contact with representatives of key sectors of Scotland’s economy who would like to join me in a meeting with you, in Downing Street, to discuss the impact your new policy and the changes we believe should be made in order to prevent serious and lasting harm to Scotland’s economy and services as a result of your migration policy.

“I look forward to your swift response, and to meeting with you alongside representative voices from across Scotland’s economy.”

Under the new proposals, the minimum salary for skilled migrants has been dropped from £30,000 to £25,600, with each required to score 70 points on the Government’s new scale, which includes criteria such as speaking English or if they have a job offer from a Home Office “approved sponsor”.

Reports in recent days have suggested the Scottish Tories are unhappy with the proposals, however newly-elected leader Jackson Carlaw has said the plans are a “work in progress” and the final proposals will be in Scotland’s interest.

A UK Government spokesman said: “Our new points-based immigration system will work in the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom.

“The independent Migration Advisory Committee has recommended a single, less restrictive system to help attract the brightest and the best from around the globe.

“We will continue to work with stakeholders and industry in Scotland to ensure the new proposals work for all sectors.”

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