First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will continue to argue for more powers over immigration but has accepted unfettered control over Scotland’s borders is probably not possible. The Scottish Government’s demand for control over the post-study work visa was rejected by the Smith Commission on devolution. Sturgeon argued that the UK’s work visa policy is “a real area of frustration” for her government.
Sitting alongside Sturgeon was Edinburgh University principle Tim O’Shea who highlighted the issues facing foreign students in securing work visas after graduation. Some 41 per cent of Edinburgh University students are from outside the United Kingdom, but often are forced to leave the UK once their visas expire. This blog is all too aware of the issues facing foreign students who wish to stay and the hurdles put in front of them. The deportation threat hanging over of a friend and student who has started their own local business, plays a valuable role in their community as well as a long term Scottish partner was one of the many triggers for this blog appearing.
Sturgeon argued: “We have got a long and very well understood tradition of attracting some of the best people from around the world to come and study here, settle here and live here – as well as sending some of our best people to other parts of the world.” We are pleased a politician of Sturgeons profile is highlighting the opportunities that migration brings to Scotland but also gives to young Scots if they so wish to leave Scotland. We hope that the the current SNP government continues to make a positive case for migration levels to be increased to and from Scotland. As long as Scotland remains in the EU, Scots are free to move around other EU member countries. Our links in the Commonwealth also allows young Scots to move to Australia, Canada and New Zealand on a temporary two year working visas.
Sturgeon also attacked the “damaging and pejorative rhetoric” around immigration which is making the UK less attractive for students and workers.” From our experiences on the street on the lead up to the referendum it appeared that the ‘fear mongering’ that came from the No side about levels of migration to Scotland worked. We hope that those involved in the Yes campaign that remains in a position of power will be working hard to readdress this.
Source. The Scotsman.
2015 is shaping up to be yet another interesting year to follow Scottish Politics. The changing landscape of Scottish politics in the aftermath of the independence referendum and the up and coming Westminster general election will ensure that politics will not be disappearing off our front pages anytime soon.
Whilst Scotland is going through a period of self assessment of how we want to be viewed by the rest of the world, it appears the battle ground on which the Westminster election will be thought upon is the subject of immigration. The rise of UKIP as a political force in England has wide ranging consequences for Scotland, even if, as predicted, they will not even come close to gaining a seat in Scotland in 2015.
Scotland voted in favour of remaining part of the UK in September and as such will be subjected to the same levels of intense immigration debate as the rest of the United Kingdom. Migration levels are mainly an issue that only effects the South East of the UK thanks to the London centric policies stared by the Thatcher administration and continued through the Blair/New Labour era and continues today in the Con/Dem government. At the same time, our media which also remains London centric, projects this as a nationwide issue which creates popular myths and in some cases breads hatred to those who relocate to the United Kingdom.
If you ask those who are interested in Scottish Politics, the popular view is that Scotland’s views on immigration is different to the rest of the United Kingdom. In a lot of ways this correct. We have no history of voting for far right racist parties nor have we embraced the anti immigrant hostile protest politics projected by UKIP in modern times. UKIP at present has never once had its deposit returned at any general or by election in a Scottish seat. However, as my participation in the independence referendum increased, the more vocal or aggressive objections of those who intended to vote No tended to come from people who feared that an independent Scotland would be ‘flooded’ with foreigners. I lost count the amount of times I had to argue with people who were regurgitating the usual myths about foreigners coming to Scotland as promoted by the right wing press.
Love it or hate it. Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom and the media which we consume will still continue to promote the propaganda of those in power at Westminster be it far-right, right or pretend centre left. You only have to listen to the speeches made by Ed Miliband on how the Labour Party will tackle the migration ‘problem’ to realise the poverty of voices in the mainstream political world making a case for the positives of migration. This constant bombardment of anti migration propaganda has an effect on Scotland no matter how different politically we claim to be.
This blog will aim to highlight views on migration in Scotland and tackle the popular myths on migration offered to us by the Scottish media via their London HQ’s.
A blog dedicated to arguing the case for a migrant friendly Scotland.