Scotland’s External Affairs Minister has said that the country’s economy will be damaged by the UK government’s intentions to restrict immigration.
The Tory-led coalition government has long made clear its intentions to restrict the flow of immigrants entering the UK, and just two weeks ago used the Queen’s speech at the annual state Opening of Parliament to announce its intentions to introduce new measures designed to restrict immigration.
The proposed immigration bill would force short-term migrants to pay for NHS care, compel landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and ensure that illegal immigrants could not get driving licences.
However, External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf believes that the majority of Scotland is against an approach which limits immigration and says that gaining independence is the only way Scotland can get an immigration policy suited to the nation’s needs.
“There’s no doubt that the UK government’s restrictive immigration policies are damaging Scotland’s economy, but also the general message that Scotland is open for those who are wanting to come from overseas to make a skilled contribution to Scotland,” said Minister Yousaf.
“Immigration is one of the only policy issues that I can think of that unites Scottish business, the trade unions, politicians, the universities – because they’re all feeling the impact of restrictive immigration policies,” he added.
A referendum is due to be held in Scotland in September 2014 to decide whether the nation becomes independent from the UK.