Sturgeon faced in red while Pretty Patel rejects the separate Scottish visa system after Britain’s exit from the European Union


The First Minister published a document yesterday outlining a number of ways the Scottish system could diverge from the rest of the UK. But the plans were roundly rejected by the Home Office who said immigration would “remain a reserved matter”.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the SNP leader said the approach was needed to boost immigration as Brexit would hit Scotland harder than the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The hard reality is this – without continued inward migration in the years ahead, there’s a real risk that Scotland’s working age population will fall.

“The end of free movement will, in my view, harm the whole of the UK, but it will be uniquely harmful for Scotland.

“It’s likely to weaken our economy, damage the delivery of our public services and make some of our communities less sustainable.

“That is the reason for today’s paper and the proposals it contains.

“A common, UK-wide approach to immigration simply hasn’t worked in Scotland’s favour for some time now.

The document, Migration: Helping Scotland Prosper, laid out five possible options for the creation of the visa system.

Under Ms Sturgeon’s preferred model for the scheme, migrants would apply separately to the Scottish Government for a visa to live only in Scotland and Holyrood would recommend applicants to the Home Office.

The First Minister stressed the proposals were designed to work under devolution but they could be adapted for use in an independent Scotland.

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