John Finnie MSP has today (31 May 2018) called for cross party talks to reconvene in an effort address the UK Government’s current ‘hostile environment’ policy, which is not delivering for Scotland’s communities.
Mr Finnie highlighted the example of the fishing industry in Barra, struggling to recruit sufficient numbers of staff (1). He also raised the matter of a Canadian teacher who was refused a visa, threatening the provision of Garlic Medium Education on Mull (2).
Mr Finnie also spoke of the importance of migrants working in our NHS and in the valuable tourist trade, both of which are vital to communities in the Highlands and Islands.
Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said:
“The UK Government’s so called ‘hostile environment’ policy has created a situation whereby the social and economic needs of our communities are disregarded in favour of a dogmatic anti-immigrant ideology. Many remote, rural and island communities in the Highlands and Islands, and elsewhere in Scotland, have unique needs which Westminster’s one size fits all approach simply doesn’t cater or care for.
“In the last session of parliament all the parties in the Scottish Parliament accepted that Scotland had unique needs in relation to migration, with the reintroduction of a post study work visa one of the key recommendations of a cross party commission. Unfortunately, despite Scottish Tories support for it in Scotland, they were overruled by their then Home Secretary, Theresa May.
“Immigration enriches our communities and keeps many local businesses and public services running. But the UK Government’s current inflexible and frankly xenophobic approach is harming our communities. It is time for the Tories’ approach to immigration to come to an end, and for a humane, welcoming immigration system to replace it.”