Scotland: Immigration ‘is not a dirty word’
June 9th 2012
Immigration “is not a dirty word” and should be welcomed to boost the economy and improve the education system, MSPs have said.
Scotland saw a record rise in immigrants last year at a time when the net UK influx fell slightly. The Scottish population is now estimated to be at a historic high of 5,254,800.
First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland needs to send a substantial message to UK Immigration Minister Damian Green that a crackdown on immigration should not be allowed to harm businesses, investment and education north of the border.
Last month Mr Green said the UK Government’s “tough new rules” have led to a record 62% drop in student visas in the first quarter of 2012 and overall falls in work visas, saying that “the hangover from the old system of weak controls means UK immigration is still too high”.
But MSPs have said the new system is too restrictive and that immigration is not high enough. Reflecting on the population statistics at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Salmond said: “Population growth was a key priority in Scotland’s performance indicators. The target is to match the average European population growth over the period from 2007 to 2017. These latest statistics indicate that we are on track to substantially reach that target.”
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