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The SNP would create a migration and asylum system with equity and compassion at its centre

Scotland is a rustic which has been formed by migration all through its historical past. For hundreds of years Scots have left these shores, integrating into communities all over the world with some estimates suggesting that round 40 million individuals globally think about themselves to have Scottish ancestry.

Lately these tendencies have shifted as Scotland has moved from being a internet exporter of individuals, to a rustic whose inhabitants is rising, partly attributable to migration. This in flip helps us create a rustic with a powerful worldwide outlook and a culturally richer, extra various society.

The way forward for this wealthy variety is now nonetheless in danger, attributable to rising hostility towards migration from successive Westminster Governments. Whereas Theresa Could is reviled by many because the architect of the hostile setting, the phrase itself was coined again in 1997 by New Labour’s immigration Minister Liam Byrne who spoke of ‘flushing unlawful migrants out’ and creating “a way more hostile setting on this nation.”

Since then, whether or not it has been David Cameron’s promise to cut back migration to the “tens of 1000’s”, Labour’s notorious ‘Controls on immigration’ mugs, or the intense rhetoric of Priti Patel and Suella Braverman, Westminster hostility to migration solely appears to be rising stronger.

I’ve watched this unfold from the benches of the Home of Commons and the one factor that has struck me is that every time I feel Westminster has hit a brand new low on migration, it manages to give you one thing even worse.

First, the years of anti-migration rhetoric through the Brexit course of, resulting in the ending of free motion and obstacles thrown within the path of EU nationals who wished to come back and work throughout these isles.

After that, Priti Patel and her Nationality and Borders Invoice, which on the time was one of the vital appalling items of laws I had ever opposed.

Then alongside got here the Unlawful Migration Act, which enabled the Rwanda scheme. And when that was blocked within the courts, the Tories responded with the Security of Rwanda Invoice to try to sidestep the court docket’s ruling.

My SNP colleagues and I fought tooth and nail towards these damaging plans at Westminster throughout many gruelling hours of debates and committees. However in the end the Tories have been ready to make use of their majority within the Commons to power their plans via, aided I have to say by some very lukewarm opposition from Labour.

There have been occasions after I genuinely questioned how bothered Labour actually have been by these legal guidelines passing, such is their worry of Nigel Farage and their need to reclaim the a lot vaunted ‘purple wall.’ It has been hanging that when Sir Keir Starmer has been pushed to say if Labour would even repeal these damaging legal guidelines in energy, he has refused to verify that he would. And now Labour’s solely predominant coverage pledge through the election marketing campaign has as soon as once more focused migrants, with a promise to chop internet migration, though as traditional Sir Keir refuses to offer any element on what that will imply in observe.

Powers over immigration are reserved to Westminster which implies this has a direct and detrimental affect on Scotland, which has its personal distinct demographic challenges which migration performs a powerful half in addressing. Regardless of the expansion of current years, the inhabitants of Scotland is once more projected to start to fall inside the subsequent decade.

We want options for this and for broader demographic change as a result of Scotland’s inhabitants, like that of many different developed nations, is ageing. Scotland is the one UK nation the place the general inhabitants and the working age inhabitants are projected to say no, which means Westminster migration coverage is damaging Scotland’s companies and our wider financial system. Proof since Brexit and the pandemic has proven that some sectors, notably our hospitality and foods and drinks industries, are experiencing employee shortages and are struggling to fill vacancies.

All of this places Scotland at a definite drawback as we work collectively to get better from the financial injury and the cost-of-living disaster that has hammered the UK in recent times. Our society and our financial system merely can not afford any extra of this.

If I’m lucky sufficient to be re-elected, I absolutely intend to get straight again to work with my SNP colleagues to spotlight these points and name on UK Ministers to provide the Scottish Parliament the powers it wants to handle these challenges.

Nevertheless, the long-term reply right here is for Scotland to take management of its personal migration coverage with the complete powers of independence. The SNP Scottish Authorities printed a paper on migration final 12 months which set out what this is able to appear like.

An impartial Scotland would supply a spread of visa routes supporting individuals to reside, work or examine in Scotland, or go to or make investments right here.

Scotland’s system would take away the complexity and the exorbitant prices which the Dwelling Workplace imposes on individuals making use of.

The SNP would additionally take away the minimal revenue requirement for household migration, launched as a part of the ‘hostile setting’ strategy, which might make it simpler for households to decide on Scotland as a spot to reside, whereas additionally supporting household reunification.

Refugee and Asylum coverage in an impartial Scotland can be rooted in human rights, equality ideas and the rule of regulation.

And crucially, an impartial Scotland would search to re-join the European Union, making certain that free motion of would resume as a reciprocal proper for Scottish residents to reside and work throughout the EU and for EU residents to reside and work in Scotland.

These proposals would create a migration and asylum system with equity and compassion at its centre, whereas serving to develop our financial system, addressing the abilities shortages affecting our key sectors and making a vital contribution to Scotland’s inhabitants progress.

This may assist guarantee Scotland makes a powerful restoration from years of Westminster financial mismanagement, whereas sending a message to the world that those that want to make Scotland their residence and to reside and work right here, will probably be warmly welcomed.

Chris Stephens was elected because the SNP MP for Glasgow South West in 2015. Since 2023, he has been the SNP’s Justice and Immigration Spokesperson within the Home of Commons

The put up The SNP would create a migration and asylum system with fairness and compassion at its centre appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK's progressive debate.