Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil and a group of other MPs met today (Wednesday November 22) with Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis MP to discuss ways of enabling non-EEA crew, principally from the Philippines and Ghana, to work on fishing boats on the West Coast of Scotland.

Commenting after the meeting Angus MacNeil MP said: “This was a very useful meeting.   Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis MP was very open and had a fresh and honest eye to the possibilities of what could happen.

“Brandon Lewis promised to take things away and to reconvene again in January.  He also said that he would look into the possibility of running a pilot scheme - whereby seasonal workers coming from non-EEA countries could work for nine months to help the fishing industry on the West Coast of Scotland.

“I am very pleased with the way Brandon Lewis has engaged with MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland on this issue.  It is something I have been fighting for on behalf of the West Coast fishing industry for six years.  Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been lost to the fishing industry on the West Coast of Scotland because we haven’t had crews available to man boats as we would have wanted.

“Hopefully this is a step to resolving this matter.  This is an issue which is going to have to be resolved for the agricultural sector anyway post-Brexit so we might as well sort the fishing sector at the same time with a similar scheme.  Perhaps fishing could even lead the way.”

In picture, from left, Angus B MacNeil MP; Brandon Lewis MP, Immigration Minister; Jim Shannon MP; Alastair Carmichael MP and David Duguid MP