6 Aug 2009


IMMIGRANTS who come to live and work in Scotland could have a better chance of earning full UK citizenship, it was revealed yesterday.

The Home Office unveiled plans for an Australian-style points systems for foreigners who want to settle in Britain.

Workers from overseas will receive extra points based on their skills and qualifications. Once they have enough points, they will be able to move to Britain permanently.

It also emerged yesterday that extra points will be given to migrants who settle in parts of the UK where population is set to fall - such as Scotland.

The move would build on the Fresh Talent Initiative, set up by former first minister Jack McConnell to let foreign students stay after graduation.

A Home Office spokesman said: "There are parts of the country where spaces in the workforce aren't being filled by UK residents and could very easily be filled by hard-working migrants."

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy last night said he was "pleased" at the move.

He added:"Our need for a growing population is ranked alongside the need to recruit to occupations where we have a shortage."

SNP MP Pete Wishart gave the plans a cautious welcome. He said:"The Home Office must demonstrate the new points based immigration system is fit for Scottish purpose.

"Scotland's population and immigration requirements are completely different from the rest of the UK and this has to be recognised when points are added up."


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