Immigration has been vital to Scotland, writes Home Secretary Sajid Javid, as he develops a new system based on “fairness and compassion” and designed to ensure the UK remains a “truly welcoming nation”.
Immigration has made huge contributions to our society, culture and economy.
I saw how hard my dad worked after arriving in this country from Pakistan with just £1 in his pocket.
My parents worked tirelessly to build their own business – the market stall where I first learnt how to cut a deal.
And I know that immigration has made a vital contribution to Scotland, particularly to rural and island communities.
Regardless of which side of the Brexit debate you fall on, our departure from the EU presents us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape our immigration system for the better.
Last year I announced plans for a new immigration system built around skills and what people can contribute – rather than where they come from. I want it to work in the best interests of the whole of the UK. That’s why I was in Aberdeen yesterday to discuss this directly with businesses.
I want to explain why I think this ambitious and pro-business blueprint will drive up wages and boost the Scottish economy.
We will scrap the cap on the number of skilled professionals who can come to Scotland. We will also abolish the outdated requirement to advertise jobs in the UK for a month before hiring from overseas for highly skilled workers.
This means that hospitals, oil rigs, banks, tech firms and other organisations will be able to access the talent and skills they need from all corners of the world.
As part of our new system, we will widen the definition of skilled workers to allow more people who will add value to our businesses and economy to be eligible to enter. Anyone with the equivalent of Scottish Highers will be eligible to apply under the new skilled workers route.