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Scotland calls for rural-proofed EU workforce policy response

Proposed migrant salary threshold is problematic in rural areas

January 9th 2020

Tagged: political news Scotland Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

“Restricted routes for EU migration will be particularly disruptive for rural and remote areas of Scotland,” the Scottish Government has told the UK parliament in advance of Brexit.

In a new report, Scotland calls for “a different policy response in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.”

The report, Scottish Government response to the call for evidence on salary thresholds and an ‘Australian-style’ points-based immigration system, highlights that economic conditions in rural and remote areas suggest that a £30,000 salary threshold will make it very difficult to recruit workers through existing migration routes.

It also adds that due to the age structure in rural areas in-migration is the only means of countering depopulation.

The report notes that in Australia, state specific and regional migration initiatives include varying criteria that recognise the specific needs of rural and regional areas and regional skill shortages.

According to the Scottish Government, 16.8 per cent of all doctors currently practising in Scotland have a non-UK primary medical qualification, with 5.8 per cent from the EEA.  Rural areas are said to be home to one fifth of Scotland’s population and that approximately one third of Scotland’s registered small and medium-sized enterprises are based in rural areas.

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