A devolved migration policy is needed for Scotland because the UK Government’s 'hostile environment” policy for migrants will damage to Islands' economy and public services.
A report on Scotland’s Population Needs and Migration Policy warns that all of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration – with more deaths projected than births in every year.
Analysis by the Scottish Government also found that Westminster proposals to cut migration by tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040.
National Records of Scotland population projections show a decrease for the Western Isles of 4.8% by 2026, with the figures being even more stark for the working-age population.
Certain sectors of the economy and public services like the NHS in the Western Isles are reliant on labour from outside the UK. Without migration, these demographic issues would be exacerbated as an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The islands need migrants and it’s vital that we continue to attract people to live and work here.
“The Western Isles host people from all over the world who have chosen to make this place their home. Whether we are talking about chefs from Nepal, health professionals from Poland or fishing crews from outside the EEA – for which my colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil MP has been such a relentless champion at Westminster. These people make valuable contributions to our economy, public services and communities.
“However, the Tory government’s anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is currently driving people away from Scotland, and putting vital public services in the islands at risk. This is harmful to industries such as the food and drink sector, and damaging public services such as our NHS – and this is all before we have even felt the full impact of Brexit.
“The best solution to all these issues is for the Tories to devolve powers over migration to the Scottish Parliament – and give us the ability to create a migration system that works for Scotland and the islands.”