Salmond sets out plans for immigration in an independent Scotland

Alex Salmond has signalled Scotland would pursue a very different immigration policy from the UK, if the country becomes independent.

Speaking last week, the Scottish First Minister said that Westminster’s policy was based on “sheer prejudice” and that he would look to make “substantial changes.”

Mr Salmond has previously suggested that an independent Scotland would need to increase annual net migration to around 24,000 to maintain current levels of public spending.

Now he has said that he would look to relax the rules in regard to students from overseas who want to come and study in the country.

“We will look to restore and increase the number of Indian students at Scottish universities, which as you may know has halved over the last four years as a result of the ridiculous restrictions being imposed by the Home Office,” he told journalists in Edinburgh.

Immigration has been one of the key battlegrounds in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum, which takes place on Thursday.

Mr Salmond has said he wants to attract skilled workers, as well as encouraging young Scots to remain in the nation – at present around 30,000 leave every year.

Party leaders from south of the border have warned that an immigration policy which dramatically diverges from the UK’s own, could lead to the introduction of border controls.

The pro-independence campaign have played down talk of passport checks and border guards, arguing that Scotland could remain part of the Common Travel Area – which has allowed free movement between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man since the 1920s.

  • Blog Categories