The UK's proposed new immigration system could halve the number of people coming to Scotland, risking labour shortages in key sectors, warns an expert group chaired by the School of Social and Political Science’s Professor Christina Boswell.
The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Migration and Population looked at the impacts on Scotland of UK immigration policy after leaving the EU, particularly the issue of skilled migrants from outside the EU needing to have a job offer with a minimum salary threshold of £25,600, which has been lowered from £30,000.
Even at this lower level, the salary requirement would discriminate against female migrants who would only be able to access around 37% of available jobs, the group has found.
According to previous analysis by the EAG, 53% of roles filled by employees in Scotland earn less than £25,000, including up to 90% of jobs in the care sector.
Professor Boswell said:
“While the lower salary threshold might lead to a moderate expansion of immigration through Tier 2, remoter and rural regions will still be more adversely affected after Brexit, because of the lower number of jobs available meeting the threshold. For example, while around 58% of jobs in East Renfrewshire would meet the new threshold, this figure is only 31% in Na h’Eileanan Siar.
“This risks exacerbating problems of population decline in remote and rural areas of Scotland, which are the areas most in need of in-migration. The proposals slightly narrow the gender gap we had noted in our 2019 report, but they still suggest that female migrants would only be able to access around 37% of available jobs (as opposed to c. 59% for men).”
Read the EAG report: www.gov.scot/isbn/9781839608360
The policy paper Migration: Helping Scotland Prosper, published in January, sets out how proposals for a Scottish Visa would work.