According to proposals from the Scottish government, a self-governing Scotland would grant permission for asylum seekers to be employed and receive benefits, as well as implement a comprehensive visa system, in an effort to combat the country’s decreasing population.
A report released on Friday by the government led by the Scottish National Party stated that the country is at risk of an economic downturn if it does not succeed in drawing in new inhabitants. Scotland’s birth rate is expected to decline and its population is aging at a faster rate than any other region in the UK.
The paper, one of a series to promote the case for independence, said Scotland needed a “humane, dignified and principled” immigration system after years of enduring increasingly restrictive UK-led policies.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish cabinet secretary for social justice, said: “For too long, Westminster governments have ignored the needs of Scotland and in fact, worse than that, [their] harmful migration policies, their really disgraceful rhetoric coming through, is impacting on our community cohesion and our ability to welcome people here as much as we’d like to.”
While there are currently no estimated costs or specific goals for any of the policies, the strategy, assuming Scotland chooses independence, incorporates the following:
Asylum seekers have the immediate right to access benefits, obtain employment and utilize the services of the NHS.
Shutting down the Dungavel immigration detention centre.
New working visas, new five-year post-study visas and new family visas with much lower barriers than the UK currently uses.
Rejoining the European Union in order to enable unrestricted movement for EU citizens.
The Scottish government has advocated for a more welcoming immigration system in order to address challenges such as rural depopulation and an aging workforce. This proposal has received widespread support.
Housing and immigration professionals suggest that there is a pressing issue of refugee homelessness in Glasgow that the Scottish government has failed to effectively address. This raises concerns about its ability to fulfill its commitments.
The local government of Glasgow has issued a warning that it is close to declaring a housing crisis. It has been revealed that the city may have to offer emergency housing to over 1,000 refugees in the coming months, which will cost £27m immediately. This is due to the Home Office’s implementation of a faster process for handling asylum applications.
With support from the SNP administration, Glasgow is home to a significant number of asylum-seekers in the UK. The party claims this reflects Scotland’s commitment to inclusivity and hospitality.
The country of Scotland has more lenient laws regarding homelessness, and the government in charge has the main responsibility to provide housing for refugees who are homeless. Experts in housing believe that the officials in Scotland have promised more than they can actually fulfill when it comes to housing and immigration policies.
According to Mike Dailly, a lawyer who specializes in housing law at the Govan Law Centre, it is now the responsibility of Scottish ministers to provide financial aid for emergency housing expenses, preferably using funds from the Home Office.
Somerville acknowledged that the government had a role in covering the expenses of Glasgow, but stated that the Home Office was primarily responsible due to their swift approach, which had led to the city’s housing crisis.
According to Somerville, the UK government has provided local councils with a significant amount of money to assist in the resettlement of refugees from Ukraine. This sets a precedent for our future actions, and we will collaborate with the local authorities in this effort. However, it is important to acknowledge that the UK government bears responsibility for the flawed asylum process and their abandonment of individuals after a decision is reached.