Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan's plot to keep unlimited EU immigration TORN APART by experts

Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan's plot to keep unlimited EU immigration TORN APART by experts

Sadiq Khan and Nicola SturgeonGETTY/PA

Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan are pushing for regional visa schemes for Scotland and London

The Scottish leader and London Mayor were blasted by experts who branded their plan to introduce regional visa schemes “unjustified and impracticable” and urged the Government to throw it out. 

Ms Sturgeon and Mr Khan have formed an unlikely alliance in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU, because both want to force Downing Street to secure a special arrangement with Brussels that allows them to keep free movement.

London has argued its services and finance sectors rely heavily on migrant workers, whilst Scottish ministers say they need new arrivals to add to the working age population. 

But both claims have been eviscerated in a brutal report by independent experts Migration Watch, who said employers are only pushing for free movement to be maintained so they can continue to suppress wages. 

The think tank’s vice chairman Alp Mehmet blasted: “Divergent immigration policies in different parts of the UK would be a recipe for chaos. 

“A better proposal would be to extend the UK’s current work permit system to cover EU nationals. 

“This would cause much less disruption and would also, crucially, respect the public’s desire to see net migration much reduced.”

Ms Sturgeon has made maintaining high levels of EU migration a cornerstone of her Brexit battle with Theresa May, vowing that she will fight to keep Scotland in the free movement zone at all costs. 

Theresa May in BrusselsAFP

Theresa May, who is in Brussels for crunch Brexit talks, has so far resisted their claims

Nicola Sturgeon with Jean-Claude JunckerGETTY

Ms Sturgeon has already travelled to Brussels in an attempt to secure a special deal for Scotland

But the Migration Watch report was scathing of this stance, saying many EU migrants would not want to go to Scotland and would just use the country as a “back door” to England instead. 

The report states: “The justifications given for Scotland to have special immigration powers do not stand up to scrutiny. 

“Because 90% of current migrants to the UK currently choose to go to England, it is likely easier access to Scotland could become a back door to England. Given the UK’s current enforcement problems this outcome is likely.

“In a situation where the public’s confidence in the ability of authorities to control the border and enforce the law on immigration is shaky at best, this alone should be enough to rule out such a policy.” 

The justifications given for Scotland to have special immigration powers do not stand up to scrutiny

Migration Watch report

Labour heavyweight Mr Khan, meanwhile, has been hatching his own plot to get around the result of the referendum by hatching a system of work visas specific to London. 

The City of London Corporation has already commissioned a study into how a regional migration system for the capital could be implemented and enforced, drawing a blunt rebuke from the Government. 

Migration Watch said such a policy does “not stand up to scrutiny” because it would be impossible to enforce, with people free to move to other parts of the country after arriving. 

It added the system would be so complicated it “may in fact prevent business from accessing the talent they need” because the avalanche of paperwork involved would put off both migrants and employers. 

Instead, the think tank urged ministers to invest in reforms “longer-term reforms to improve productivity, wages, conditions and opportunities for young, British school leavers”, which would reduce the country’s dependance on migrant workers. 

The report states: “Restrictions on EU labour could encourage companies to offer higher wages and attract more UK-born staff.

“This might be more appropriate in some industries, such as hospitality and the food and beverage industry, where employers have come to rely on a constant inflow of migrant foreign labour and have not had to raise wages to attract existing workers.” 

Bringing in a regional visa system would be a betrayal of the Brexit vote, the think tank said, pointing to opinion polls showing even Remain voters in London and Scotland mostly believe immigration levels should be curbed. 

The experts write: “It is imperative that immigration reforms take account of the British people’s expressed desire for net migration to be brought down.

“If implemented in the UK, such a policy would also fail to command public confidence and likely further undermine credibility in the system by increasing clandestine migration.” 

The report was released today as Theresa May heads to Brussels for what are set to be awkward talks with other EU leaders about a range of international issues, including Brexit.

Published at Thu, 15 Dec 2016 09:40:00 +0000