27 July 2009
Emigrants to UK to get more points to move to Scotland
Under the new points-based immigration system applicants will receive a higher score if they move to parts of the country in need of higher population.
Scotland has been singled out by a Home Office consultation being published this week because its population is projected to fall over the long term.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the system could be weighted differently in the future to make it easier for emigrants to stay on UK visas or work permits in other parts of the UK, if areas were in need of more workers.
The consultation by the Home Office is expected to propose giving applicants more points if they have attributes required by the UK.
The changes could mean that more emigrants, who would ordinarily be deported,could be allowed to stay in the UK if they move north.
Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, has backed the changes saying that an ageing population means more foreign workers are needed for the economy to grow.
Mr Murphy told the Daily Telegraph that Scotland's ageing population was "a challenge that cannot be postponed" and argued it should become a "melting pot", embracing immigrants from Ireland, Italy, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Europe.
He said the new immigration policy must be well managed to "maintain community cohesion and public services", and to ensure the new arrivals can support themselves and their dependents.
Under the new Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill, applicants will undertake a probationary period before being granted citizenship. It is a process that could take eight years.
Currently, foreigners can apply for British citizenship purely on the grounds that they are settled in the country.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visas and immigration services.