The Scottish government recently committed itself to a more liberal approach to immigration, in the event of Scottish independence. For demographic and economic reasons, Scotland faces distinct needs in the areas of immigration. The government is also keen to adopt a more humane approach to asylum and family migration. But the big question remains: would a future independent Scottish government be able to persuade its electorate of the wisdom of a liberalised approach?
Recent surveys suggest that the Scottish public is marginally more tolerant of immigrants and ethnic minorities than the UK taken as a whole. But the difference is not significant. Moreover, Scotland currently has a foreign born population of just 7% – only half that of the 13.8% hosted by England. So it’s far from clear whether these differences would persist in the event of a marked increase in levels of immigration.
As I’ve argued recently…
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